Marvin Ridge High School junior swimmer Nathan Utesch was awarded the Sportsmanship Award at the recent NCHSAA 3A State Championship meet. Nathan, the son of Scott and Angie Utesch, helped the Mavericks to the state championship with his fifth place finish in the 100 Freestyle and seventh place finish in the 100 Breaststroke. He was also a member of the championship 4×100 Freestyle relay team. Nathan carries a 4.75 grade point average at Marvin Ridge. Let’s go Beyond The Game to learn more about Nathan.

What led you to choose the sport of swimming to focus on?


“Like most year-round swimmers, I started with summer league. My first year I had no knowledge of the strokes and was just trying to stay afloat. My second year something must’ve clicked because I started doing fairly well. After that summer I tried-out for the SwimMac Carolina competition team and that set the ball rolling.”

What events do you swim in and what are your personal best times?


“I swim the 100 Y Freestyle with a time of 48.74 and the 100 Y Breaststroke in 1:01.46”

What is your best event and why?


“My best event switches all the time between the 100 Free and the 100 Breast. Right now I would say it is the 100 Free because I like hitting the water and just being able to floor the accelerator whereas in Breaststroke it’s more pace-oriented and you’ve got to watch your stroke tempo.”


What are your top three athletic accomplishments?


“My top athletic accomplishments would have to consist of my 5th place 100 Y Free finish and the Sportsmanship Award that I received this year at States.”

Last season, something happened before the state championship that led you to make a big decision, please share this with us?


“Last year, I was on the 4×100 Freestyle relay. We had been doing really well over the course of the season and after finishing first at regionals by no small margin, we had been looking forward to the State competition. I came down with the flu the week before States. It showed in my individual events. I gained embarrassing amounts of time and knew the relay win was going to be a longshot if I swam. My coach entrusted me with the decision to compete. I opted out and gave my relay leg to another swimmer. He crushed his leg of the race but the relay still came in a close second to Chapel Hill. That moment stayed with me and I took this season as a redemption year to finally win that 4×100. Thanks to the efforts of my relay team, we are now State Champions in that event. I must say that is probably my proudest moment of my swimming career.”