Las Vegas' Sandpipers of Nevada swim team clinched the state championship title for the third consecutive year at the Nevada State Swimming Championships held on Feb. 21-24 at Desert Breeze Aquatic Center in Las Vegas. It was also the third time that 10-year-old Dylan Gravley achieved the title of State Champion by achieving the highest number of points in his age group.
"The feeling is practically unexplainable," says Dylan, who admits that he's not really one to pat himself on the back. "I usually congratulate others before thinking about myself. But considering the fact that I won this three times, I congratulated myself first."
Hard work and perseverance clearly pay off, but growing up in a family of swimmers provides motivation enough for he and his brother, Brennan, who also swims on the team. Their oldest brother, Billy, swam for Sandpipers until last year when he left for college. Their father, Dwight Gravley, swims with Masters swimming and has also been a coach for Sandpipers for over three years. Brennan and Dylan say that their dad's influence has made a positive impact on both of them.
"Swimming is now my life and my future goal. Without him I would have never been the same person I am today," says Brennan, who also made his mark at State by taking first place in all his events in the Boys 11-12 age group.
Brennan realized that once his brother left for college, he had an important role to fill. "I realized I could not act how I did before," says Brennan. "My younger brother was becoming incredibly fast, and I was no longer allowed to crittcize him in a jokeful way. I was now a bigger role model."
While the Gravley brothers look out for each other in and out of the pool, both emphasize that swimming and teamwork go hand-in-hand. Sandpipers is comprised of over 300 swimmers ranging in all ages and skill levels. Swimmers spend hours each day at practice, swimming alongside each other, working toward achieving personal and team goals.
"Teamwork makes friendship, and friendship is what keeps you going on a team and helps you even through life," says Brennan. "Teamwork is your motivation, your spirit, your kindness, your respect and attitude."
The Sandpipers scored a total of 6,230 points to bring in the title, and the Gravley brothers is credited for contributing 140 points each. In addition to winning numerous first-place finishes, individual swimmers and relay teams broke State records, and the team’s combined efforts brought in the largest number of high point finishers in the state.