Athlete Spotlight: James Wood Swimmer Conor Babington

Posted: February 10, 2015

James Wood High School 18-year-old senior

Sport: Swimming

Position: 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle

Parents: Kathy and David Babington

Hometown: Winchester

Nicknames: Some people call me “Babs” or “Babi.”

What do you love about swimming: The team aspect, but also that it can be an individual sport at the same time. And I just like sharing the experience of struggling through practice with my friends.

Biggest strength and weakness in swimming: [Strength], my sprinting. [Weakness], the longer races like the 400 free.

Funniest person on the team: [Senior] Katie Schott. She’s just a loud, funny person.

Pregame routine/ritual: I normally just try to get my muscles loose, jump up and down some. Then I’ll stretch my legs and arms on the block.

Most memorable moment in swimming: States last year, when I placed third [in the 100 butterfly in Group 4A]. In the [preliminaries], I dropped two seconds from my best time, then I dropped another half second in the finals. I moved up from fourth to third from [prelims] to finals, so it just meant a lot to drop so much time and place as high as I did.

Most embarrassing moment in swimming: Probably my haircut. Our team gave each other haircuts the day before [the Conference 21] championships. It was a team-bonding thing. (Babington had noticeably more hair before having most of it shaved off.)

Favorite athlete: [Gold medalist swimmer] Nathan Adrian. He’s a sprinter, and always seems to be doing the right thing. He encourages other swimmers to keep swimming and has done clinics, and I’m inspired to be like him because he’s so big in the swimming world for sprinting.

Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive: My grandfather on my mom’s side William, he passed away before I was born and I‘d like to know more about what he did in his life. My middle name is William because of him. He was in the military, and that’s what I hope to do because of him; [Gold medalist swimmer] Missy Franklin, she seems like such a fun-loving person and seems so cool, and I’d like to hear about how she became so fast. And [gold medalist swimmer] Michael Phelps, just because he’s the best at swimming ever.

Most interesting person you follow on social media: My friend [and Millbrook swimmer] James Northrup. He’s pretty comical. He just posts some stupid stuff that’s pretty funny.

Best live sporting event you’ve been to: I went to a Washington Nationals game [in 2013], and I actually caught a baseball in the ninth inning hit by [Nationals catcher] Wilson Ramos. I thought it was going to go higher in the stands, but it curved and came right at me. The Nationals won in extra innings.

Plans after high school: I definitely want to study engineering and get involved in the military. My first choice is go to the Merchant Marine Academy and swim there, or I might go to Old Dominion University, where I could swim and join the Navy ROTC program. I haven’t heard from the Merchant Marine Academy, but I’ve been accepted to ODU.

— Compiled by Robert Niedzwiecki


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