RHS swimmer Pointon balances school, band, sportFeb 8, 2012 By Craig Blumenshine Staff Writer
His hair used to be brown, but now it's bleached blond. Soon, he'll be bald.
But the good news is Thomas Pointon isn't alone.
As a senior swimmer and co-captain for the Riverton High School Wolverines, Pointon and his teammates are gearing up for one final set of swims that begin this Friday as Riverton hosts the Class 4-A North swim meet at the Riverton Aquatic Center.
Coloring and then shaving hair has become a tradition for Riverton swimmers as they work to improve their speed during the final swim meets of the season.
"My events are the 200-yard and 100-yard freestyle. My goals are to beat Nick Dillinger (of Gillette) in the 200-yard freestyle," Pointon jokingly said.
Dillinger, Wyoming's top swimmer, has committed to swim at the University of California-Berkeley, one of the top swimming programs in the country.
All kidding aside, Pointon is preparing for the high school state swim meet in Gillette Feb. 24-25 and hopes to improve on his consolation finals swims last year in the 200-yard freestyle, where he placed 11th and the 500-yard freestyle where he placed 12th,
"He has potential to make the finals, especially in the 200-yard freestyle.
Thomas works extremely hard and has come a long way. He is a top student and a good person. When you look at what we want in RHS students, Thomas Pointon is one of those kids," head coach Jay Dayton said.
Pointon's success in the pool is somewhat surprising because he started learning to swim relatively late compared to other top swimmers.
"I decided in sixth grade that I would go out for sports and see what fit me the best. My dad suggested the I go out for swimming. I couldn't push off the wall past the flag. But I really wanted to learn how to swim. It was a burning desire in me. Ever since then I have been working as hard as I can to become one of the top swimmers in the state.," Pointon said.
The 6-foot-4 Pointon has qualified for the state meet in seven of eight individual swimming events but swimmers must choose just two to swim in at the state meet.
Besides excelling in the pool, Pointon is one of the high school's top students academically and had maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He hopes to be Riverton's valedictorian.
"Since the beginning, I have worked really hard and tried my best to keep my grades up. It kind of came naturally for me until my senior year, when they started piling on a lot of work," Pointon said, noting that he has managed the rugged swim routine of early morning practices, school and after-school practices.
"I have to get up at 5 a.m. to make morning practice," Pointon, who lives with his family 13 miles out of town, said.
An oboe player in the RHS concert band, Pointon has been selected as an all-state band member for three consecutive years.
"He's got great character, positive attitude and is willing to work. He's an oboe player, and those kids have to be self-motivators because the instrument is difficult to play. He's being recruited by the University (of Wyoming) to play in their ensembles. He also plays alto sax in marching and pep bands," Riverton High School band instructor Aric Hageman said.
After swimming ends, Pointon will re-focus his efforts toward his academic goals.
Next year, Pointon plans to attend the University of Wyoming and major in math on his way to a degree in petroleum engineering.
Last summer, Pointon was runner-up in his bid to be elected governor at American Legion Boys State and was appointed Speaker of the House.
Pointon is the son of Thomas and Chris Pointon and has three sisters, Monica, Alena and Joretta.
"I feel that swimming is a great contribution to my physical health as well as my mental health and character. Being around swimming, I see the amount of hard work that is being put in, and I try to apply that to different areas of my life," Pointon said.
At Boys State, "My campaign slogan was 'Thomas is Pointon in the right direction,'" Pointon said.
It sure seems like he is.