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Nicholas Lachapelle: Track Star Takes on the Pool

Salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, and land and sea are all ideas that fit together perfectly, but land and sea is what attracts Sophomore Nicholas Lachapelle. Cross country and outdoor track are the land sports that Lachapelle has always been comfortable with. However, the strong runner has attempted to conquer the sea, joining the boys swim team. Lachapelle has had great success in the pool thus far this year. Although it is his first season as a swimmer, he shows he has taken to it like a fish. With about a month left of the season, Lachapelle has distinguished himself as a main asset to the team, and is ready for the challenges ahead.

Before Lachapelle added swimming to his skill set, he was known as a pure runner. He has been running cross country since his first year of middle school and has had success in the sport. Lachapelle was third in the state as an 8th grader, and went to the NVL championships and state finals in his freshman year of both cross country and outdoor track. This year, he has moved in as Woodland’s number two runner for the cross country team and placed 2nd in the NVL meet. Despite Lachapelle’s love for running, he had the urge to take a risk and try something new–joining the Woodland boys swim team.

Coming off a successful 2021 fall season, Nick Lachapelle was faced with a tough decision. Even with all of his accomplishments, Lachapelle has always had struggles with his shins. After being diagnosed with stress fractures in his shins at the beginning of the season, Lachapelle battled through injuries to finish the cross country season strong. He knew that although he loved to run, it was best to limit physical activity on his shins during the winter season. His original plan was to come back strong during the outdoor track season and rest until then; however, Lachapelle is different from most athletes and found an alternative to help him stay in shape, without adding pressure on his shins.

The idea of signing up for the swim team is something that came as a shock to most people that know Lachapelle. Why would someone try out for a team that they have little to no experience in, not to mention one that takes a toll on their body? Well, for Lachapelle it was a no-brainer.

“Swimming is a good cross training exercise. It would just keep me in shape so I could be ready for outdoor track season,” said Lachapelle.

Ever since then, Lachapelle has been committed to his new sport; and he is not afraid of the challenges that come with swimming. Over the years of running, Lachapelle has learned a thing or two about not only being physically fit, but also mentally fit. He can certainly apply this to the pool, which gives him a solid advantage.

There are certainly other similarities between running and swimming, besides the mental aspect. Something that the two sports have in common is the individual aspect that comes with each sport, despite belonging to the team.

“Although these sports are team sports, they aren’t really. You’re running and swimming by yourself, and you aren’t with the team. The main goal of both of these sports is basically to finish in front of opponents with a better time.”

Lachapelle embodies every aspect of a competitor and a leader. He not only took a risk with something new, but has also committed to his new sport. Raw determination and effort is what separates Lachapelle from the rest, and what gives him a chip on his shoulder each time he dives into the pool.

“I think both cross country and swimming are really difficult. Right now, swimming is probably harder because I am new at it, but I still put in the maximum effort no matter what.”

Bryce DiGiovanna

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