GREAT BARRINGTON -- The word rest doesn't seem to enter Jessie Tobin's thought process much. And if it does, it doesn't stay there long.

From one pool to another, one practice to another, one change of clothes to another, one race to another, the freshman on the St. Joseph girls swim team is always swimming.

Just how much distance is she covering in the pool?

"Around 6,000 to 7,000 [yards]" a day, she said.

That's anywhere from 3.41 to 3.78 miles. The first half of that is spent with the Crusaders at the Boys and Girls Club of Pittsfield, and she finishes her swimathon in Williamstown with Purple Valley Aquatics.

"She practiced last night, too," St. Joseph coach Shannon McMahon said at the Berkshire County Individual meet on Saturday. "She came in today said, ‘I'm tight.' You can't tell when you watch her swim, so it's working."

With that much mileage, both in the pool and on the road, there needs to be a certain level of commitment. What drives the 14-year-old is simple.

"Just loving the sport," she said. "I've been doing it for so long, and it's just fun. I love it."

It's no wonder the 14-year-old is having as much success as she is in her first varsity season. She's qualified for the Western Massachusetts meet in every individual event and all but the breaststroke for states. To say she has her pick of events this weekend and next would be an understatement.

She'll get to pick only two, and she's chosen the 50 and 500 freestyle for Western Mass.


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, which is Sunday morning at Springfield College.

The postseason has her excited, as evidenced by her smile when she talks about it, but it may not be the only thing. She won't be swimming as much these next two weeks, leading up to Western Mass. and states.

"Yes, I'll taper. So it's nice," she said. "I don't do as much yardage, so I'm not as tired when I'm racing. So I can go faster."

Faster? Her name's been plastered either at the top or just below it on the top five times list for multiple events all season long. After Saturday's meet, here's where she stands: first in 200 IM and 100 and 500 free, second in 50 and 200 free and eighth in 100 backstroke (Emma Whitney and Maeve Wilber own the first seven times).

With the rest she's expecting to receive, she's reset her goals for this weekend. In the 50, she's aiming for 24 seconds, which would be nearly 2.5 seconds faster than her fastest this season. In the 500, she has her sights set on finishing in 5:10, which would be 13 seconds faster.

"Different things like her stroke techniques are different," teammate Anita Curtin said of what separates Tobin from the pack. "But it's so neat to watch her swim because she looks so natural in the water."

Curtin doesn't just marvel at the underclassman, instead opting to try and learn a trick or two.

"I'm always kind of seeing under the water to watch her do different strokes, and you can just watch her do different things, just see what she does that makes her a little bit faster," Curtin said. "You definitely can pick up tips from her."

It's certainly too early to predict Tobin's full potential, but she's on her way to creating a pretty big buzz.

"She comes in with a lot of swim experience," McMahon said. "She swims in a very competitive club program, so that certainly helps.

"She works hard, very motivated."

To reach Josh Colligan:
jcolligan@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6297.
On Twitter: @EAG_DigitalJosh