Wayne County swimmer signs with Findlay
FINDLAY, Ohio — Though he will soon wrap up a decorated high school career, Tim Stollings’ days in the water are far from complete after he signed to continue his swimming career at the University of Findlay in Ohio. Stollings will join the Oilers in fall 2019.
As a junior in high school, Stollings was ranked by collegeswimming.com as the top prospect of the 2019 graduating class in West Virginia. Stollings was home schooled and therefore, under WVSSAC rules, he never had the opportunity to compete in high school swimming, but he said he doesn’t see that as a disadvantage.
“Honestly I look at it as more of an advantage. I have nothing against high school teams,” Stollings, the USA Swimming Scholastic All-American, said. “But, not having to juggle the club swimming with high school swimming allowed me to focus in on practice a little more than I would have otherwise.”
Had he been allowed to compete, his best times in his junior season would have won the 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, and 200-yard individual medley at the 2018 West Virginia High School State Championship.
Stollings lives with his parents in Prichard, West Virginia, and swims for the West Virginia Wild club team based at the Tri-County YMCA in Scott Depot, West Virginia - a 104 mile round-trip commute that he makes five days a week.
He doesn’t see the drive as an obstacle and said he “knew it was worth it” to reach his goal he had set long before collegiate offers arrived on his doorstep.
“When I started to get more and more offers it began to sink in that I could really swim in college,” he said. “My goal has always been to push myself and be able to swim in college, but I never knew if that was realistic. “Now I do.”
Stollings received looks from nine NCAA Division I swimming programs, but decided early in the process that a smaller college would be the best fit moving forward.
He took an official visit to West Virginia University and had another scheduled for East Carolina University before cancelling it in the wake of his decision. Stollings said after looking into several different schools and with some help from his parents, he decided a smaller school, like University of Findlay - a Division II school - would be a better fit.
“We counseled him to get him to think about what type and size of college he would be happy attending for four years,” Tim’s father, George Stollings, said. “There’s a tendency for kids to go to the schools with the biggest names but we didn’t want him to make his decision based on name, but where he would be comfortable.”
Stollings will specialize in the 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, and 50 freestyle, and will swim legs in both the freestyle and medley relays at Findlay. After he finishes his senior year of home schooling, Stollings will prepare for his next adventure with the University of Findlay Oilers in fall 2019. A daunting task, but one he meets with confidence.
“Coming from a home school background it will all be a brand new experience,” he said. “I know it will be different, but I’m ready to tackle this new challenge. I want to thank my parents because they have helped me a lot throughout my swimming years. I owe the world to them and don’t know where I would be without their help.”
In December, Stollings will compete in three events at the Speedo Winter Junior National Championship, at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina. Then will make a return trip to the Greensboro Aquatic Center to compete in the YMCA National Championships in April 2019.