“Swimming is a lot of ups and downs and doesn’t always give you what you want when you think it’s going to come but generally if you put the hard work in you get to see the fruits of your endeavors," says Jim Manz.
Wise words spoken from a former Eau Claire swimmer, Jim Manz, whose role has shifted from in the water to on the pool deck, as he watches his three children grow through the sport of swimming. The trio holds multiple team records, state and national cuts, and a little sibling rivalry.
“I guess the best thing is probably the worst thing, especially with my brother. We get to compete in practice and while it’s great to have somebody to compete with, it’s not always great when it’s your brother," says older brother, Wes Manz.
“Biggest thing with practice is just that Wesley pushes me every day and as competitive as it is, it’s really hard, but it’s probably why I’ve gotten to where I am today," adds younger brother, Trevor Manz.
Wes is a sprint freestyler and flyer, home for summer training from Kenyon College. Trevor, a rising senior at Memorial, is a state runner up in breaststroke. And the youngest, Sarah, well she isn’t too far behind, she was a state qualifier this past year as a freshman.
“If they go to the big meets first, I sometimes get to tag along and sometimes get to go and watch the big meets and so then it’s not nearly as intimidating when I’m actually competing there," says Sarah Manz.
“When you have the 3 of them together in practices, the other kids are always you know looking for them. Where are they? Where are they? They’re good to compete with in the water so it strengthens all of their program, it strengthens all of their swimming," says coach Paula Caucutt.
The Manz swimmers practice anywhere from 15-20 hours a week in the water in addition to dry land practices. And still they find themselves at the pool, giving back to the community that’s raised them.
“As you get older and you move towards moving away from the place you’ve been for a very long time in Eau Claire. You realize how much things like Fairfax, and Paula and Jodie, my family and all the support I have around this place has been to me,” says Wes.
And between all the hours spent training and competing, the Manz family hold memories that go beyond the race clock.
“Celebrating their successes but also being there when they had their disappointments and so we’ve just spent an incredible amount of time together as a family,” says mom, Sharon Manz.
“There’s nothing better as a parent for me to sit back and watch my kids go through the process and enjoy the success that they have in swimming," says Jim.