Hard Work Paying Off For JHS?Senior With College Aspirations Coming To Fruition
By the time Allie Stockwell hit the water as the anchor leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay Tuesday night, she and her Jamestown High School teammates had no chance of winning the race.
The talented, front-running Frontier girls had opened up such a big lead that the only debate was which of the remaining four teams in the water would earn the figurative silver medal.
And ever so briefly, it looked as if the Lady Red Raiders’ quartet of Grace Osborne, Anna Burt, Emily Spitz and Stockwell would have to settle for third place. Because when Stockwell finally launched herself off the block, the Lady Falcons’ team they were closest to appeared to be comfortably in front.
That didn’t trouble Stockwell in the least.
In fact, by the time she made her flip turn after one length of the JHS pool, she had almost caught up.
After that, it was no contest.
Her arms pulling at the water and her legs kicking furiously, Stockwell burst in front and was never threatened the rest of the way as Jamestown finished runner-up by more than 2 seconds. Ultimately, the four points the Lady Red Raiders earned in that event were not enough to overtake Frontier for the meet victory — the Lady Falcons prevailed, 97-79 — but the moment did serve as a reminder of the kind of swimmer that Stockwell has become.
Jamestown coach Glen Shoup said the senior’s success stems, in large part, to her ability to set lofty goals, to be able to visualize them and then to work really hard to achieve them.
“She’s athletically talented, she’s gifted with an amazing work ethic, and she’s learned a lot of good things from all of her coaches along the line,” he said.
It all started for Stockwell when she was a 6-year-old taking swimming lessons at the Jamestown YMCA. She ultimately graduated to the Y swim team and then, upon finding success there and a new set of friends, became aware of the accomplishments of talented Lady Red Raider record holders like Lauren Caldwell and Jennifer Bentley.
She was hoping to be just like them one day.
Well, guess what?
Nearly a dozen years after learning how to swim, Stockwell has earned a place on the Mount Rushmore of all-time Jamestown greats.
While the daughter of Marty and Beth Stockwell is a three-sport letter winner at the school, it’s clear that it’s swimming that sets her apart from her peers. And it’s her talent in the water that has placed her name on the record board that is mounted on the wall at the east end of the pool.
“It’s cool to be up there,” she said.
It’s a well-earned place, according to Shoup, who recalled having a conversation about Stockwell with Frontier coach Phillip Aronica at a STAR swim meet in Buffalo over the summer.
Said Shoup: “He came up and said to her, ‘Do you play other sports? Are you really good at those, too? Because you’re just one of those kids who can go out, try it and do it.'”
That’s been her modus operandi most of her life.
A Post-Journal all-star basketball player as a junior, Stockwell has also been a standout on the Lady Red Raiders’ track and field team. Those efforts, along with her strong performance in the classroom, have earned her plenty of recognition, including being named the recipient of the Ted Olsen and Bill Present Legacy Award, presented by the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, to the outstanding JHS female student-athlete.
But swimming has always been her No. 1.
“I just like the hard work,” she said.
The results prove it.
Stockwell is the owner of the pool (24.76) and school (24.26) records in the 50 freestyle; holds the school record in the 100 backstroke (58.69); and is a member of the school record-setting 200 medley relay (1:54.37). In last year’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships, she finished 12th in the 50 free.
“I think she understands that hard work pays off in the end,” Shoup said. “She understands what it takes to get into the water and what needs to be done to be able to see the final goal.”
That coachable attitude, in combination with success in the pool and in the classroom, has drawn the attention of a host of colleges and universities. Last weekend, Stockwell paid a visit to Towson (Maryland), and also has visits planned at Gannon, Buffalo, Cleveland State, Canisius and, possibly, Eastern Michigan.
“Swimming has always been my favorite sport,” said Stockwell, who plans to major in occupational therapy. “Sticking with that and doing it in college has always been a dream of mine. It’s nice to see it come true.”
Shoup, who has coached at several different schools in the area during his career, said Stockwell is among a “handful of elite swimmers” that he’s seen.
“When you see the times she’s swimming, they speak for themselves,” he said. “The time is the time is the time.”
In other words, the numbers don’t lie.
“She knows where she wants to see her name (on the school record board) and where she wants to be in November,” Shoup said. “We’re just trying our best to help her get there.”