Faith, hard work pays off for senior swimmer

GVL / Eric Coulter
GVSU swimmer Carly Bush

Eric Coulter

GVL / Eric Coulter GVSU swimmer Carly Bush

Bryce Derouin

Senior swimmer Carly Bush says the same thing before every race: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Whether you believe in divine intervention or not, one thing is indisputable — Bush is a good swimmer.

While her record-breaking senior season has gotten her plenty of accolades this season, Bush made impact as soon as she stepped into the pool at Grand Valley State University, setting four freshman records that still stand. She holds freshman records in the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 5.55 seconds), 1,000-yard freestyle (10:30.71), 100-yard butterfly (57.13) and the 200-yard butterfly (2:04.14).

The senior swimmer also holds two individual GVSU varsity records, and is a member of two relay teams that hold varsity records. Bush owns the 1,000-yard freestyle (10:13.79) and 1,650-yard freestyle (17.01.52) records, and is a member of the varsity record holding 4×100-yard relay (3:49.02) and the 4×200-yard relay (7:37.33) teams.

The accolades do not end there.

Bush was just recently named National Swimmer of the Week for her performances in the Jan. 14 meet against Findlay in Allendale, in which she broke three records.

On top of all this, she is the reigning 200-yard butterfly GLIAC champion, a crown she hopes to defend this year.

When GVSU head coach Andy Boyce recruited Bush out of Byron Center Charter School, he saw this type of potential during the recruiting process.

“She swam in high school, and in club at Jenison,” he said. “We thought she had a lot of potential, and she continued to get better every year. She is currently one of the top swimmers in the country.”

For Bush, the decision to follow in her dad’s footsteps and attend GVSU happened in the later part of her junior year. But her early love for swimming can be traced back to her early days as a kid.

“I started when I was 7 years old,” Bush said. “Swimming was the only sport I was really good at, but I loved swimming.”

While her love for sport has helped her to success in the pool, Bush says her faith and year-round training have also been part of it.

“My faith in God is the biggest key to success in swimming,” Bush said. “I put no limits to myself and I put high goals for myself.”

Boyce believes that it’s her preparation, and focus in practices and meets that give Bush an edge.

“She’s an extremely positive person who always looks on the bright side of things and pushes things in practice,” he said. “She’s a hard worker and she is focused on doing well and it shows when she competes in meets.”

On top of her pool achievements, Bush has earned the respect of her teammates.

“Carly is an incredible teammate and an incredibly selfless person,” said junior Kelsey Vermeer. “She leads by example and she always gives her best at practice and the meets. She is the kind of person I look up to.”

Bush has only the GLIAC championships and nationals left in her GVSU career, but don’t think that she is complacent with her place in the GVSU record books.

“There are still a few others on that record board that I want to go after,” Bush said. “I fully believe I can get them.”

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Jan. 14 records

1,000-yard freestyle

Time: 10:16.22

Previous: 10:22.01, Wenter from the University of Milwaukee

200-yard butterfly

Time: 2:06.49

Previous: 2:07.22, Tan from Northern Michigan University

4×200-yard freestyle relay

Time: 7:49.34

Previous: 7:56.94, Oakland University