MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - As a sophomore in high school, junior
set his sights on swimming at the collegiate level. Little did he know, his hard work would enable him to represent his home state as a member of the West Virginia University men’s swimming and diving team.
“I got serious during my sophomore year,” Squires said. “I didn’t want to go far away, and I watched guys go to WVU who swam against me in high school. I knew I could do that.”
A Buckhannon, W. Va., native, Squires’ mother and grandmother were also Mountaineers. His grandmother, Catherine “Splash” Williams, is noted for swimming at WVU and founding the West Virginia Wesleyan men’s and women’s swimming teams.
“My heart was set here,” explained Squires. “My mom and grandmother went here, and I wanted to distance myself a little from my hometown, but not too much.”
Squires did that his freshman year, when he came to WVU to compete as a member of the sprint team.
Squires has been successful as a Mountaineer, and has made the best decisions possible, he says, to help the team. He redshirted last year, along with two others, because of the amount of youth on the team. Knowing their relays would be faster after a year of practice, Squires rehabbed from surgery and put in innumerable hours of practice last season.
Squires is back in action this season, and expects the team’s results to continue getting better. He felt at the top of his game at the Mizzou Invite, which marked the halfway point in the season for the Mountaineers. Squires has since suffered some discomfort from prior injuries, but that’s not slowing him down.
“Since we beat TCU in the dual meet, our main focus is beating them in the Big 12 Championship this year,” Squires said. “I was glad that I helped enough at TCU, but wasn’t really impressed with myself.”
Going into the postseason soon, Squires will take a larger leadership role for the Mountaineers.
“The seniors have most of the leadership, but I know I need to step up even more to get a head start on next season,” Squires said. “We also want to get a relay into the NCAA competition, which I would like to help make happen. It’s been a while, and it would be nice to start that up again for our team and Coach (Vic) Riggs.”
Squires’ main focus this week is getting healthy for the men’s team’s upcoming meet this Friday, Jan. 31, at No. 9 Ohio State. He said that with practice every evening and two mornings a week, it should be easy to get back to 100 percent.
Although life for a student-athlete can be demanding, Squires is thankful for every day that he has the opportunity to swim at WVU.
“I think that swimming with the flying WV on my cap always means more to me than a lot of people because I can really relate to it,” said Squires. “Mountaineers are tough. I’ve always been a Mountaineer, and will be one for life.”