It was a historic day for Gilmer County athletics Tuesday, as Gilmer High School senior David Brown signed the first-ever Gilmer County swimming scholarship during a ceremony at Harrison Hall.
Brown put his name on the dotted line to swim for Emmanuel College, a Division II school located in Franklin Springs, Ga.
“It’s a big stress-reliever,” Brown said about his feelings on the signing. “It was a lot of pressure to choose which college to go to. But looking at the academics and the Christian atmosphere, it really helped me make my mind up to choose Emmanuel.”
Brown played multiple sports throughout his youth, including football, basketball, baseball and soccer, but a friend turned his attention to swimming. As is often said, the rest is history.
“My friend Austin Watkins got me started and I had got him started playing basketball. Now, we’ve flipped. He plays basketball and I swim (laughs),” Brown explained. “After I started swimming, the other sports just kind of dropped off. Football went first, then baseball, but I played basketball until my eighth-grade year. I joined a summer league and just kind of realized that I was good at it. Plus, my stepmom had found a place to swim on a club team. I got second at state for the park and rec in the 50 (yard) (butter) fly. I went to Chattahoochee Gold and swam there, but I didn’t really fit in. I moved to the Carpet Capitol Club in Dalton and it’s more of a family. It’s made me a better person overall, brought me closer to God and taught me how to strive for perfection and implement a lot of determination. I got my first senior state cut and last month, I attended the Junior Nationals in Orlando.”
Although schools such as Bethel University, Hiram College, Davis and Elkins and Point University were considered, the decision to swim for the Lions came through Brown’s dedication to his faith.
“Many seniors can agree, you struggle and separate from God,” Brown pointed out. “The relationship is not as strong. It’s going to happen. When I went and visited (Emmanuel) … they go to church two days a week. You kind of notice the Christian atmosphere around everyone there. I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to strengthen my relationship with God, more than it is now.”
Brown also wanted to give thanks to those that have helped him reach the milestone of signing a college scholarship. “My stepmom and dad, plus my mom and stepdad,” Brown said. “I want to give a big shout-out to my stepmom, for taking off of work so much to drive me to meets. My coach, Jason Meszaros, for making me a better human being. Mark and Lisa Waddell have been big supporters as well. Russell Hood, a preacher, has helped remind me that God is the biggest part in all of this.”
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