When high school athletes put on the uniform with their school name, they know that they are doing something that is bigger than themselves.
Elias Mendez says that every time he competes, he wants to do his best to make his school and community proud.
“It means a lot to me to know that I am representing my school and community when I am in the pool and on the field,” Mendez said. “I try to always perform my best and be a good role model. It’s great because I feel like I have the support of Stillwater behind me when I play or swim.”
Mendez is a freshman at Stillwater High School, where he is a member of the school’s swim and soccer teams.
He began swimming when he was younger. But through the years, he has put in a lot of work so that he can be the swimmer he is today.
“I started swimming and joined the YMCA swim team when I was five years old,” Mendez said. “I did it because my sister, Gwen, was also on the team. It takes a lot of work to be a competitive swimmer. A lot of training, but also you have to get focused and have a good mentality and mindset. A lot of people underestimate what your mind can do.”
Swimming competitively for as long as he has allowed Mendez the opportunity to have some memorable moments.
“The highlight moment of my career has been getting my first state record in the 400-meter freestyle and 400-yard freestyle when I was 10 years old,” he said. “That season was the start of more seasons where I qualified to represent Team Oklahoma at meets across the country.”
There have been a few people that have been or are currently influential in his life and Mendez is thankful for each one of them.
“One of my biggest role models is Michael Phelps because of his insane work ethic,” he said. “His commitment to his sport is something I look up to. Another would be my friend, Avery Littlefield, because she pushes me and I push her and we race against each other in practice.”