Athlete Spotlight: Brady Johnson wants to make splash in record books at IHSA State


Photo by Wildcat Chronicle Staff

Junior Brady Johnson looks to the state competition as he finishes out his third year on the swim team.

By Carlos Allen, Senior Reporter

UPDATE: Since publishing this article, junior Brady Johnson won first place at the IHSA state competition in the 100m backstroke, 14 seconds ahead of the competition. He placed second in the state in the men’s 50m freestyle with a time of 20.50.

Senior reporter Carlos Allen sat down with junior Brady Johnson, a three-year member of West Chicago Community High School’s swim team, and the team’s state championship contender.

How long have you been swimming?

I’ve been swimming for 10 years. I started on a small club team called the West Chicago Sharks. When Covid-19 came around the pool shut down and I changed teams to FMC Aquatics where I swim on the National Team in Westmont, IL

What got you into swimming?

Before I was a swimmer, I did baseball, basketball, and even karate. I wanted to start swimming because my sister did it and I wanted to follow in her footsteps and compete competitively. I first tried it out and my coaches said I was a natural. I then dropped my other sports and now swim full time, about three hours a day.

Johnson dives off the platform at the start of a recent race. (Photo courtesy of Brady Johnson)

What’s your goal in the long run? What do you want to be remembered for?

My goal, in the long run, is to compete at a D1 level and make some type of Olympics. I want to be remembered as one of the best to swim and the hardest trainer that anyone knows of. Success doesn’t come easily, and there is always someone training harder than you and I want to be that person.

My goal is to win the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke in two weeks at the IHSA State swim meet.

What teammate or coach pushes you the most and why?

My coach[es], Troy Murray and Dave Krotiak, push me to another level. They help me with the smallest details when it comes to the perfection of the sport. From where my toes should be placed on the block to changing my form underwater, it all comes down to whoever moves fastest in the water.
The hardest person I have ever trained with is my dear friend Jeffrey Hou. I have been friends with him since we were eight or nine, and have been pushing and racing each other from day one. I would consider him my equal as to every practice. We give it our absolute all, from getting in the water before everyone, and leaving practice when everyone’s gone.

What colleges do you have in mind that you want to attend?

Although I can’t talk much about my college recruiting process, my dream is to attend the University of Florida, the University of Texas, Austin, or the University of Southern California. They are the top of the top swim schools, and it would be an honor to further continue my athletic and academic profession there.

In between events, Johnson rests on the lane lines. (Photo courtesy of Brady Johnson)

Are you getting ready for State? 

Yes, I’m super excited about the IHSA state swim meet. For big state and international meets, swimmers change their practice style to rest their bodies and muscles. We drop the amount of yardage we’ll complete in practice by a significant amount. Most of us will shave and take baths, as those two factors come into play when getting the most amount of recovery as possible.
How do you get ready on a meet day?
Typically, when I wake up in the morning on the day of a meet, I’ll have some type of low-carb breakfast that won’t make me feel heavy in the water such as a protein shake or eggs with toast. I’ll grab my things from my locker at the high school, and take the bus to wherever I’m competing that day. While on the bus I’ll either have music coming from a speaker or I’ll have my AirPods in to really lock into the mood. When I get to the pool, I will do a 15-minute stretch before warming up to really loosen up my body to prevent injuries. During the meet, I stay off my phone and cheer for the team. About 15 minutes before my race, I will do a second warm-up to get my heart rate up and then put my headphones in and really lock-in. I clear my mind and have no distractions and only focus on the race.
What has been your favorite moment in your high school swim career so far?
My favorite memory of high school swimming was getting third at State last year. Not because of the place I got, but because of the experience of swimming in such a nice facility with all these schools from across the state, and crowds of people roaring and cheering. Swimming in the middle of all that, with everyone watching you, was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in the sport, and was very magical for me and my teammates to experience.