For most college athletes, their sporting endeavors are not about becoming a professional or an Olympian. Rather, participation is more about self-satisfaction and enjoyment. But for Wabash College sophomore swimmer Joel Paquin, swimming has delivered individual successes and life lessons far beyond the pool.
Paquin, who graduated from Brownsburg in 2012, recently concluded his sophomore season positively, as he finished ninth in the 1650-yard freestyle at the North Coast Athletic Conference championships, helping Wabash to fourth place, one of its best finishes in the league meet. His 16:34.33 time has him within six seconds of overtaking the current school record for the mile.
While not currently in the Wabash record book, Paquin was part of one school record set earlier in the year with Zechariah Banks, Elliott Johns and Jack Belford in the 800-yard freestyle relay, a mark taken away since by teammates.
Paquin has become the team’s best distance swimmer and earned NCAC swimmer of the week in January after pacing the squad with individual wins in the 500 and 1000 against Illinois Weslyan. Three of Paquin’s times this year are ranked in top 10 school performances.
The Wabash program seems to be on the upswing, and Paquin has found it fits him well. While Paquin had chances to go for a higher collegiate swimming level, he opted for Division III at a school much closer to home.
“Wabash did a really good job recruiting and staying in contact with me,” Paquin said. “Division III just seemed like the best fit for me. I am higher up in the competition in D-III than I would have been in D-II, and that helps me with motivation.”
Paquin is not the only Hendricks County resident helping the Wabash program grow. First-year coach Brent Noble, a Terre Haute native, has chosen Brownsburg for his home, and may tap into the improving pool of county boys swimming talent to help Wabash develop further.