Senior balances swim, academics


Daniel Nemer

Johnson stands holding his trombone.

Daniel Nemer, Reporter

Every Wednesday afternoon, Tate Johnson, a Revere High School swim team captain, almost always leads the traditional team chant against their opposing team, before the meet begins. Additionally, Johnson leads the team during their grueling, long practices every day. Even though Johnson has to manage many extracurriculars, including the swim team, academic challenge and the band, he always tries to help others wherever he can. 

Not only does Johnson excel athletically in his swim goals, but he also highly prioritizes and achieves success in academics. Johnson’s academic achievements include being a National Merit Scholar, a state qualifier for the academic challenge team, and taking difficult courses like AP U.S. History and AP Latin.

Furthermore, Johnson not only demonstrates leadership skills in his advanced classes but has achieved the title of team captain this year on the Revere swim team, which he shares with fellow teammate Weyland Franklin. Johnson’s senior year will mark his fourth year on the academic challenge team and on the swim team.

Johnson explained why he first wanted to join the swim team. 

“I was spending a while trying to figure out what sport I wanted to do and tried swimming,” Johnson said. 

Johnson describes that winning races does not bring him complete satisfaction; however, the swim team’s camaraderie brings him joy.

“I feel like we have a very good community. . . it’s a good place to find companions,” said Johnson.

Unlike many of his teammates, Johnson’s swimming career did not start in the Akron General Cleveland Clinic Health and Wellness Center waters, the pool where the team practices every day from 3:15 to 5:15. Ironically it started in the waters of the Revere swim teams rival The Copley Water Warriors.

Johnson’s love of ancient history and language has geared him towards a more humanities based education, with classes such as advanced Latin, World History and Literature.

Although Latin is no longer spoken today in regular conversations, Johnson has a love for ancient cultures. 

“I guess I’m interested in ancient cultures on the whole. Also it has a very rich history from being used in Rome through the middle ages to the present day in the church,” Johnson said. 

Johnson’s academic excellence and leadership have not gone unnoticed by Latin teacher Lawrence Petkovsek, who has taught Latin at Revere High School since 2001. Petkovsek describes Johnson differently than his other students showing how Johnson as a student stands out. 

“[Johnson stands out because of] his intellectual curiosity, sensitivity of soul, strong critical reasoning and relatively accurate self-assessment,” Petkovsek said.

Not only does Johnson excel in academic settings but motivates his classmates with his uplifting spirit. 

Petkovsek describes Johnson’s high attitude and love for learning.

“I like his cheerfulness and his indefatigability,” Petkovsek said. 

Furthermore, Johnson not only holds essential roles in the classroom but leads his teammates as captain of the academic challenge team and section leader of the trombones in the Revere band. 

Marianne Grandon, a Revere swim coach, has known Johnson for over eight years, four of which Johnson has spent on the Revere swim team. From uplifting his teammates with funny jokes or motivating the team during meets, Johnson’s school spirit and drive are admired by many, including Grandon.

“Tate has a very calming presence. He has a quiet demeanor, doesn’t get riled up, doesn’t let drama impact him. He’s very focused on what his goals are,” said Grandon. 

Grandon explained Johnson’s care and compassion for the future of the team by the way he treats the younger swimmers who sometimes struggle to adjust to the fast-moving team environment. 

“I think that he is a team captain that really helps the freshmen and the underclassmen to see what it is to kind of channel your energies and focus on what you need to do in and out of the pool,” said Grandon.

Not only has Johnson’s compassion and kindness impacted others, but his athletic ability has led the team to multiple victories. 

“He’s one of the top swimmers on the team,” said Grandon.

Grandon also described Johnson’s strength as a swimmer and his dedication to the morning and Saturday lifting sessions.

“[He’s] probably the strongest kid on the team in terms of the strength and conditioning program,” said Grandon. 

From Johnson’s love and dedication to swimming to his academic excellence, Johnson continues to immerse himself in high-maintenance school activities, finishing his senior year in a strong and positive light.