Steve Mancuso has known all about Mountain Pointe freshmen swimmers Grace Horvath and Sarah Ding for years.
The sport has long been bolstered by siblings, meaning if one family member competes they all do, and the Pride has a good history with brother and sisters following in the footsteps of their loved ones.
While Taylor Horvath, a 2012 Pride graduate, and Jeff Ding, a 2011 grad and Pride record holder, were swimming for the Pride, their younger siblings were around the program.
Now, they are quickly developing into two of Mountain Pointe’s top performers and are going about it in different ways.
“When they are in the pool they are right there, competing with each other, they are a lot alike,” Mancuso said. “The way they go about their business and their competitiveness are right on par.”
But that’s about where it ends with these two.
Horvath is the typical club swimmer — she spends more time being wet than dry and has been doing it for years. It is part of who she is and feels it is necessary to reach her goals.
Ding has participated in club growing up, but decided to take a year off to concentrate swimming for the Pride. It’s a rare decision for someone of her caliber, but one she though had to be done.
“Everyone always says high school sports are always the funniest,” she said. “After summer I wasn’t getting the times I wanted so I took a break from (club), but at the end of the day it is what I love to do. I wanted to at least take this year off and see what high school swimming was like. It’s been great so far.”
It is clear they have different approaches and it makes for an interesting dichotomy.
“Grace has that singular focus to go with great ability,” Mancuso said. “She is a lot like (former Pride state champion) Clara Jenk was at that age. You can see how special she can be and she’s going to do whatever it takes.
“Sarah is a little more loose, happy-go-lucky, but she is right there with her and can be just as good.”
Horvath, who competes in the 100 breast stroke (1:13.50), 200 IM (2:16.68), 100 fly (1:04.55), and 500 free (5:18.13) wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love it and I take it really seriously,” she said. “When I was younger I knew I wanted to swim. I started club at age 5. I want to break records and I want to make junior nationals. I just need to focus and try my hardest.”
Ding, who competes in the 100 breast (1:13.50), 100 fly (1:07.22), and 200 intermediate (2:30.75) has the added pressure of being Jeff’s little sister. He was well accomplished with two school records (4:43.12 in the 500 free and 3:20.43 on 400 free relay team), state medals and was a good leader.
“He’s always been a role model and it really hit me that they are expecting to be like him,” she said. “My goals by my senior year is to be as good as him and leave a legacy like my brother did.
“I like that type of pressure and want to do it.”
And to get there Ding will be tested — Horvath finished first and Ding was second in the 100 breast in the dual meet last week against Desert Vista — for the next three-and-a-half seasons by Horvath.
“They are going to really push each other,” Mancuso said. “You can see it already and it is only going to make each of the better.”
“We’ve been training together since we were 11 years old,” she said. “She was like, ‘We are going to have to stick together to do this.’ She is definitely someone who pushes me.”
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