Jaycob Davies doesn’t measure his success in personal records or yards swam. He approaches the sport with his brain rather than his body.
“It’s 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical,” said the senior captain of Washington High School’s boys swim team.
“When you’re racing, your body wants to give up after a while, but you have to keep pushing and get in the right mindset … that you know you’re ready for it.”
There is no question that Davies is ready. After finishing with a pair of top-five finishes in last year’s Class 2A state meet, he is chasing a championship in his final season with the Patriots.
“It’s definitely pushing me,” he said. “It’s my last chance to win state and to try to better my times.”
Davies set a personal best of 4 minutes, 56 seconds in the 500-yard freestyle earlier this month, and was within a half-second of his 200-freestyle record of 1:47.62, which he set in his second-place finish at state a year ago.
“This season is looking pretty good,” he said. “And (the 200) was untapered, so once I get my taper in, I should be pretty solid.”
Washington coach Jessica Wheeler said that Davies is the “type of athlete that any coach hopes for.”
“From his freshman year on, his teammates have looked to him for team leadership and as a role model,” she said. “As a competitor, he has continued to improve throughout his four years on the team, getting better each season.”
Doing that has required focusing on his “mental race” just as much as his kicks and turns.
So it’s hardly a surprise that the 500 is his preferred event.
“You have to think it out,” he said, “to pace yourself and at the end go all out.”
Davies, who also swims for the Metro Aquatics club team, said that he loves the balance of physical exertion and personal accountability that swimming provides.
He said he plans to swim at an NCAA Division III Northwest Conference school next year, and study computer science or aerospace engineering.
But first comes the challenge of training for a state title.
“I just think about what my end goals are, and getting into colleges, and how fun it will be come state time, and how rewarding it will be,” he said.
Swimming for a lesser-known school in a classification that includes such powerhouses as Archbishop Murphy and Sehome is beneficial when it’s race time, Davies said.
“I like coming in and not having too many people know me,” he said. “It’s fun to have new competition.”