Flanagan and Chen Named WCA’s Athletes of the Month for January

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Please join us in congratulating Junior Lainey Flanagan and Freshman Ian Chen, who were named WCA’s January “Student-Athletes of the Month.” These student-athletes were recognized not only for their dedication to their sports but due to their well-rounded extra-curricular activities and academic success.

For each sports season, there will be two female and male athletes of the month selected. Therefore, in February, we will honor an additional female and male student-athlete for the Swimming and Basketball seasons.

Lainey Flanagan

Lainey is one of the original Eagle Swim team swimmers along with Kaitlyn Sullivan and Delaney Gibbons. According to Head Coach Anne Anderson, she has helped grow the team from small JV start-up to a varsity team that can compete on the state level. “Lainey has improved each year in her ability to swim a variety of events to handling tough practices to leadership as the oldest swimmer on the team.” Coach Anne stated. “Lainey is willing to swim whatever the team needs and those are sometimes not her best events. She also encourages the JV swimmers and helps as a peer coach at many of our practices.”

Last year, Lainey placed in the top 16 of swimmers in the VISAA State Meet, a very fast and competitive meet in which swimmers must meet certain time standards to participate. This year, she is ranked in the top 20 going into the State Meet that will happen the weekend of February 15-16th, and just recently was instrumental in helping propel WCA to a 4th place finish overall out of 21 VISAA Division Teams competing at the VISAA Division 2 Championships at the Freedom Aquatic Center in Manassas.

“Lainey has an infectious smile that is contagious,” according to Anderson. She stated that the scripture she thinks best describes Lainey is 2 Timothy 1:7 which says, “For God did not give a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power out of love and self-discipline.” To Coach Anne, it is clear that Lainey swims with power out of love for the sport and her team and she is self-disciplined in her academic and practice habits.

Each student-athlete was asked to respond to a series of questions about the winter sports season, their faith walk and how it influences their actions on the pool deck and in the pool! Let’s see what Lainey has to share…

Q.  What was your favorite moment or highlight of the season thus far?
A.   My favorite moment of the season thus far is when the varsity team went to UVA and went to eat after the meet. That dinner was so much fun!

Q.   What do you like most about your particular sport?
A.     I like that in my sport, I do not have to compare myself to others, but I can look at race times and reach goals in that way.

Q.    What do you think it takes to be a successful student-athlete?
A.     I think it takes a lot of grit to stay consistent in school and also with sports.

Q.    How do you feel that you best contribute to the team?
A.     I feel that my most significant contribution to the team is my positive attitude even when a meet may be running late or when practice gets difficult.

Q.     When did you first start participating in this particular sport?
A.      I started participating in swimming when I was 13.

Q.      In what other activities do you participate both at school and outside of school?
A.       I am participating in the school play this year, and outside of school, I swim on a year-round club team. I am also a member of the SCA, the Key Club, and the National Honor Society.

Q.       How do you best balance your academics with your extracurricular activities/sports?
A.        I balance my academics and sports by staying ahead of work and knowing when I need to skip practice to be able to accomplish my goals for school.

Q.       How does your faith walk help you to have a firm foundation when you are engaging in athletic activities?
A.       My faith helps me to be humble during sports, and it also helps me to give it all I’ve got in the pool to glorify the Lord

Q.      What scripture verse most inspires you to be the best athlete you can be?
A.      Colossians 3:23 “ Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…”

Q.      What skills have you learned from sports that will be most helpful to you in your overall life skills?
A.       I have learned to keep working hard to accomplish goals, and this will help me the most in my overall life.

Q.      What other athletic endeavors would you like to participate in during the remainder of the school year (either inside or outside of school)?
A.       I will be participating in the Senior State Meet for both my school team and my club team in February and March.

Q.      What other interesting facts should we know about you:
A.       Each summer, I participate in the “Summers Best Two Weeks” up in Pennsylvania, which is a Christian Athletic Camp that lives by the motto: When you compete, all glory goes to God…God is first, others second, and I am third! I have been chosen as a head camp counselor this summer.

Ian Chen

This is Ian’s first year on the WCA swim team, and according to Coach Anne, he has almost perfect practice attendance! Coach Anne reminds us to keep in mind that the team practices at 6:15 am!

Coach Anne stated that Ian has improved at each meet and is paying attention to detail to make himself a better swimmer. She shared that she has also watched Ian play the piano this past fall and recognized his considerable talent. She quickly observed that his attention to detail in his music transfers to his performance in the pool! “Ian asks questions to make himself a better swimmer and he works to fine-tune his skills in the pool by paying attention to details of the start, the turn, and the finishes of his races, “Coach explained, “and what really stands out is his leadership and encouragement of the younger swimmers on the team. He is the loudest cheerer at meets and congratulates everyone after their swims.”

The verse that Coach Anne says reminds her the most of Ian is 1 Timothy 4:7 which states, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Coach Anne sees much of Ian reflected in this verse, “Ian knows that his physical training is important, but he keeps a good perspective on his other talents given by God, his academics and eternity.”

Like Lainey, Ian was asked to respond to the same series of questions. Read on to learn more about this dedicated student-athlete (we’ve translated answers in Chinese to the best of our ability for our International Program readers and parents!):

Q.   What was your favorite moment or highlight of the season thus far?
A.   After practice, when we eat Chick-Fil-A breakfast in Coach Sullivan’s car. I also liked when I broke the school’s record for fastest breaststroke. 【反正也没人看得懂,我再稍微详细的写一些。讲真,每天早上. 起床真的感觉像喝酒了一样晕沉沉,但游泳完之后又神清气爽,真是矛盾呀。。。】

Q.   What do you enjoy most about your particular sport?
A.   I like the way I feel after swim practice. 【当头发还没干,走出游泳馆享受吹呀吹呀我的骄傲放纵的赶脚真的超棒】

Q.   What do you think it takes to be a successful student-athlete?
A.    It takes determination, hard work, and patience. 【在国内时养成的好习惯,上课不说话,认真完成作业,早点肝完早结束】

Q.    How do you feel that you best contribute to the team?
A.     I never miss practice, and I got a lot faster at swimming. 【自己选择的路,哭着也要走完。】

Q.    When did you first start participating in this particular sport(s)?
A.     I started swimming in China when I was five years old. 【在我很小的时候,有一次被我爸推进了泳池,所以。。。】

Q.    In what other activities do you participate both at school and outside of school?
A.     I play Varsity Soccer, and I am a member of the Chess Club and the Key Club. 【这里的人运动起来简直是魔鬼,借不来借不来,拼尽全力才能有一席之地】

Q.    How do you best balance your academics with your extracurricular activities/sports?
A.     You can’t wait until the last second to do your work.【事实上我觉得能保证成绩的情况下才有心思做运动】

Q.    How does your faith walk help you to have a firm foundation when you are engaging in athletic activities?
A.     When things get hard God keeps me going by telling me the hardest part will be over soon. 【有时候想要放弃就心想“再美好的事情也不会太完美,在可怕的事情也不会太糟糕,能苟就苟,不能苟就把这当最后一次去看待。”】

Q.    What scripture verse most inspires you to be the best athlete you can be?
A.     Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance…

Q.    What skills have you learned from sports that will be most helpful to you in your overall life skills?
A.    When you promise to be part of the team, you must keep your word. 【说到做到,自己选择的路,哭着也要走完。

Q.    What other athletic endeavors would you like to participate in during the remainder of the school year (either inside or outside of school)?
A.     I would like to go skiing and be part of the tennis team. I also enjoy ice hockey.

Q.    What other interesting facts should we know about you?
A.     I am an international student from China, and I have played the piano since I was five years old. I am also a pretty good artist. 【我是个男的,是个北京人儿。敢浪,很容易和陌生人打成一片,也许是曾经是个童星的关系。比较耿直,曾经国内班里的颜值担当。弹钢琴还行,画画去年学的,逆天的音乐天赋和艺术天赋,但因为懒并没有得以发挥。。。】

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