What's new to say about George Sommerville? Not much, that's for sure. But there was something different this season than seasons past.
The Taconic swimmer made his debut as a varsity captain. The senior, after watching other ahead of him, finally moved into a leadership role. That, coupled with his tremendous swimming ability, makes him the 2013-14 All-Eagle boys swimming MVP. Sommerville is now a three-time MVP.
"I thought it went pretty well. I didn't really know what the title ‘captain' meant," he said. "I had some friends my sophomore and junior year that were captains, and I thought they did pretty good. I kind of just went off what they did, tried to do some of the things that they did, try to do some of the things that they didn't."
Many times, the title of captain is simply given to the best athlete or athletes on the team. If that were the case, Sommerville would have been a captain much earlier in his career, not his senior season.
"I just saw a growth in him and how much that he was out there for the team," Taconic coach Marisa Plant said. "It wasn't to qualify."
Settling into a new role, especially one in a leadership position, can take some time, but Sommerville didn't seem out of place. Much of that can be credited to keeping a level head and understanding the limits of his title.
In speaking about how being captain went this winter, his word choice spoke volumes about his approach. He said he wanted to "guide" the team and not "lead."
"I wanted to keep it so it didn't seem like I was bossing the kids around, staying in charge, telling them what to do," he said. "That wasn't really my job. That was kind of Marisa's job; she was the coach. I just felt like my job was to just make sure everyone kept their calm and just made sure everyone did their part, especially me doing my part."
When it came to races, he always did his part.
Whether it was swimming the anchor leg of a relay and winning it when that result required catching someone most swimmers can't, not assuming he would win even if he was in his best events or competing in an event he's not the best in, Sommerville always rose to the occasion.
"I would ask him, ‘It's kind of an easier meet, what do you want to swim?' He would say ‘Whatever you need me to do,' " Plant said. "He wasn't one that ever said ‘I want to do this. I want to do that.' It was ‘Whatever the team needs me in.'
"It's his character. He's just a humble, easy-going guy."
Sommerville didn't limit his ability to guide to the boys team. It carried over to the girls side, too. He may have had a bigger impact with that team.
"He did a great job leading the team on both sides, not just the boys," Plant said. "He was also kind of the inspiration for the girls team."
Sommerville hasn't decided where he's attending college in the fall, has it narrowed down to Bryant University (R.I.) or the University of Massachusetts. He said he's leaning toward Bryant, where he would be able to swim for the Division I Bulldogs.
"I definitely think I left on a positive note. I'm glad. I don't think I'd really want to change anything," he said. "Obviously, down the road, there's some times I'd rather do better on, but I can't complain with how the season ended."
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