The old adage in sports is there’s no “I” in team. But in Jake Bryans’ case, he is the team.
The Boyd freshman is the lone member of the Yellowjackets’ swim team. He carried the school’s banner in the Class 4A Region II final Tuesday in the backstroke.
Bryans was seeded fourth in the finals in the event after swimming a 1:03.82 in prelims Monday.
“Feels like I’m representing Boyd,” Bryans said. “A lot of people didn’t know we had a swim team.”
This is the first year for the school to compete, with Bryans being the inaugural member. He’s tried to convince classmates to join him.
“I’m hoping more take up the sport,” he said.
Bryans himself is not new to the sport. He’s been swimming for the past seven years with the Quest Aquatics team at Fit-N-Wise.
He took up the sport as a third grader after the family moved to the area from Paris.
“I was looking for something to do after school,” Bryans said.
As a 12-year-old, he finished fourth in the 50-yard backstroke and eighth in the 50 freestyle at the 2008 Texas Amateur Athletic Federation championships.
Since then, in USA Swimming, he’s made his “A” times in the 100-yard freestyle and backstroke.
Bryans made his high school debut at the District 6-4A meet, where he took second in 100-yard backstroke in 1:05.89.
Monday at regionals, he shaved two seconds off that time to give him a chance at state. But in swimming only the region final winner is guaranteed a state bid.
Even if Tuesday didn’t end with a spot at state, Bryans is hopeful he can gain one over the next three years.
“I’m really hoping to make it to state,” he said.
His father, Shawn Bryans, the Boyd High School principal and his sponsor, expects the recently turned 15-year-old to grow more and get stronger over the next three years.
“He’s already 6-3.5, which gives him an advantage,” Shawn Bryans said. “But he can improve. He’s getting a lot more focused. He’s also had that taste of victory.”
Who knows where this one-man team may go.