All-County Swimming: Boys Swimmer of the Year
Sat. December 31, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
Winter Haven High School's David Lambert (Photo by Ernst Peters | THE LEDGER )
By BILL KEMP
Ledger Media Group
Parents know best.
In the summer before David Lambert entered the eighth grade, his mother wanted him to do something just to get him out of the house. So he took up swimming but stopped when the school year began.
A year later, when Michael Phelps won eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Lambert made a mad dash back to school to join the Winter Haven swim team.
“When Phelps won, all of a sudden this voice was heard in our house that said, ‘I should have never quit swimming.’ Then he went out for the swim team the very next week when they had tryouts,” said Lambert’s father, Ivan.
Three years later, Lambert achieved All-American status at the 2011 FHSAA Class 2A State Finals in Orlando with a personal-best time of 20:86 in the 50-yard free preliminary round.
It was the exact time needed for automatic All-American status and the fastest time delivered in the prelims. He won the silver medal in the 50 free finals later that evening.
Lambert is the PolkPreps.com 2011-12 boys swimmer of the year.
“The prelims were just so competitive that you don’t want to mess around at all. You have to make sure that you make finals,” Lambert said.
“I went out there and just gave it my all and ended up with the automatic All-American time. Right there, it didn’t matter what I did in the finals. I had already reached my goal and I was just out there to have fun.”
Lambert said he felt like a marked man entering the finals.
“When you’re a top seed and everyone is coming after you, it’s a big thing. The prelims is where I really got in the zone and got the most focused. It was my first time I fully shaved (my body) and was fully tapered with a suit on. I was just really hyped up to see what I can do,” Lambert added.
The Blue Devils’ senior finished sixth in the 100 freestyle at the state meet. He also had first-place finishes in 50 free at the county, district and regional meets. In the 100 free, he finished first at districts and second at regionals.
“It’s his will to work and his drive to work (that made the difference),” Winter Haven coach Danny Wallace said. “Last year at regionals, he had one of the better times going in. When he won the 50, I knew the kid had finally arrived. He had put his time in, and it was a good year for him.”
Earlier in his prep career, Lambert met another swim coach from Ohio, Mike Wilcox, who aided in his technique and training rituals.
“I got a lucky break. Coach Mike gave me a dry-land program and he helped set my goals. He told me if I did things this way, everything would fall right into place, and that’s exactly what happened,” Lambert said.
As an All-American, Lambert has drawn the attention of several colleges, but he has yet to make a commitment.
“I am looking at swimming in college and I have talked to several. I have thought about doing something with coaching after college,” Lambert said.