Glenwood’s Akins signs to swim for DII Augustana Vikings
Will be part of school’s brand new men’s team
Glenwood Springs High School senior swimmer Aeson Akins says he admires the technique of elite swimmers like Caeleb Dressel, but it’s the swimmer next to him that he really looks up to.
“I’ve always found it more rewarding to look to those swimmers in the next lane and how they swim, to learn from them and conversely them learning from me,” Akins said. “We get better together.”
It’s that kind of attitude, not to mention his own ability as an accomplished swimmer for the Demons and the Sopris Barracudas club team, that earned Akins a scholarship to swim for Division II Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“Of the campuses I toured, I really like Augustana more than the others, and just got a really good feel for it. It felt like home,” Akins said after his recent decision to commit.
He’ll also be on the front end of the Vikings’ inaugural men’s swim team at Augustana starting in the fall.
“So, I’ll be one of the first men to swim there, and basically every swim I do is going to be a record for the team,” he said.
Akins plans to study biology at Augustana, and has earned a sizeable academic scholarship from the institution in addition to his athletic scholarship.
Mom Heatherlynn Akins said she likes her son’s choice.
“We’re excited for him to go someplace where he was going to feel comfortable, and might be able to contribute both athletically and academically. I think he made a good choice,” she said.
His dad, retired Air Force Col. Ben Akins, who teaches the Junior Air Force ROTC at Glenwood High, said he, too, is happy with Aeson’s choice.
“I think it will be a good fit for him, and a challenge both athletically and academically,” he said. “Most of what he can do is up to him, but the right coaches also make a difference.”
First off, though, Akins hopes to lead the Glenwood Demons to a conference championship in the upcoming season, which will run from late April until mid-June in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s realigned Season D.
The Demons had a strong shot at a conference championship and a strong showing at state last spring when the season got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think we would have taken it last year,” Aeson Akins said confidently.
He specializes in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke, and the 100 butterfly. He’s also the backstroker on the Demons’ medley relay, and expects to swim one other relay this coming season.
With that, he has a goal to swim under 50 seconds in the 100 backstroke, and under 55 seconds in the 100 fly — both of which should send him to the state meet.
Akins started swimming in Virginia before the family moved to Glenwood Springs, and after taking a little time off joined up with the Barracudas during the summers and offseason, and then the high school spring season.
The past year has been difficult after the canceled high school season with only two competitions under his belt since then.
“Normally we would have 20 or 30 meets in a year,” he said. “When you’re not competing you definitely kind of forget how to compete, so it will be nice to get back into some meets and learn how to race again.”
Akins and some other members of the Barracudas had a sectional meet in Phoenix this week, which should serve as a good warmup before formal high school team practices begin.
Steve Vanderhoof is the head coach for both the Demons boys and girls swim teams, and is a long-time coach in the Barracudas club program.
“I’m very proud of Aeson, and he will likely be the leader of his college’s new men’s team,” Vanderhoof said. “It’s so much fun to watch these kids succeed.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.