Ryan Peters Award
For a Swimmer with Exceptional Work Ethic and Leadership
"Ryan Peters was a kid that joined the team against all odds, you would think. He was not the strongest swimmer and his parents were a little concerned. He had never swam competitively. At morning practice, you know how kids complain about getting up so early or it's to cold. Ryan never complained or made excuses, although he could have. At first, it was difficult, for him and the other team members, because he was so slow and was getting lapped and almost in the way. However, he was always at practice, on time, ready to go, even asking if he could help with the lane lines, or with the equipment.
As the season progressed, so did Ryan. He learned the stokes, worked harder every day and started to keep pace and even would lead the lane during some practices. About halfway through the season he came to me and said he wanted to work on his starts, because he used to start in the water. So that is what he did. He practiced starting from the blocks and continued to excel, achieving best times, and scoring points for the team. But even more than points, Ryan scored big with his team mates, as a leader, motivator, and friend.
I'll always remember, there was one meet where Ryan was in the breaststroke. We had worked on his underwater pullout for his start and turns, and then he gets DQ'd for an illegal kick. I got a little upset, and went up to the ref and politely gave her a piece of my mind, saying how can you call him on an illegal kick, he can't kick! Meanwhile, Ryan pulls himself up out of the water, grabs his steel crutches, comes over to me, taps me on the shoulder and says, "it's OK coach I'll do better next time". See Ryan Peters was born with spina bifida and could not use of his legs. As I said earlier, here was a kid that had every right to complain, but he never did. Despite his condition, Ryan told me he just wanted was one of us, and he worked harder then anyone on the team. He was a Barracuda."
-Former Coach Jim LaBud