In order to partake in special events such as the USA Central Zone Championships — which Catie Boggs qualified for — an assist from the community is usually required.
Communities from across the area certainly did that on Saturday morning as individuals came out to the Roy Rogers Esplanade in droves to support Boggs and the Spartan Swim Club — to the tune of $1,025, as a matter of fact — in an effort to help pave the way for Boggs to enjoy her latest accomplishment.
For the 10-year old Boggs, the support of all of those who showed up will certainly mean a great deal to the talented youngster going forward.
“It’s very neat and exciting,” Boggs said. “I’m blessed to have the support of Portsmouth and the communities across the Scioto County area. My parents are very supportive and very helpful. It’s just awesome.”
That support, according to Spartan Swim Club team manager Hope Bruch, is one that is well deserved.
“Catie is like no other,” Bruch said. “She just has that determination to win. Even in practice, she gives it her all.”
Boggs — who starred for the Wheelersburg 9-10 year-old softball program by collecting an astronomical .808 batting average en route to leading the 9-10s to a state championship — could be a better swimmer than a softball player, and that’s saying something. Need proof? Boggs even defeated Bruch’s son, Jeremiah, in several practice races against each other — and Jeremiah is 15 years old.
“My son (Jeremiah) is 15, and we had to bring him to the practices in order to give Catie some competition to train with. She still beats him,” Bruch said, emphasizing the word still. “And he’s soon to be 16, so really, she’s training against a 16-year old.”
Over the course of the season, Bruch said that the goal for the talented multi-sport standout was to simply get her times down, as is the case for any swimmer.
However, Boggs not only got her times down enough to qualify for the Junior Olympics, but blew past the competition in the 50-yard breaststroke as Catie qualified for the USA Central Zone Championships in Rochester, Minn — all while getting two to three times less practice time than her competition. She will be one of just 164 swimmers — and 34 10-year olds — to represent Team Ohio when she takes to the water and competes in the 50-yard breaststroke on August 3.
“During the season, we didn’t expect any of this,” Bruch said. “So when we found out that she had made it to the Junior Olympics, we were all excited. We went up and then, when she swam and put up the score that she did in the 50-yard breaststroke, we were just all amazed that she had gotten a time fast enough to move on considering the type of competition and talent that was there at the Junior Olympics. It’s just been an amazing ride, and she’s done very well. We weren’t expecting a season like this at all, especially for a small team that only practices four hours a week.”
With Boggs quickly making a name for herself through her hard work, it’s no surprise to see various individuals coming out in support of the strong-willed competitor. One man even brought a Saturday, July 28 edition of the Daily Times for Catie to sign at the cupcake fundraiser, and the fundraiser itself raised the $1,025 total in just three hours.
“It was crazy,” Bruch said. “Almost every one of the people that came talked to Catie. They were more than willing to donate. One guy even came and had Catie sign the Daily Times newspaper (where her story, “Boggs to hold fundraiser,” ran in the July 28 edition) on her picture. He wanted her signature.”
What makes Boggs’ mentality so impressive at a young age, however, is her ability to keep thinking about what is next. Ultimately, Catie’s goal is to qualify for the Olympics. And with the 2028 Olympic Games officially being held on American soil in Los Angeles, it certainly would be a neat storyline.
“I would really like to be in the Olympics one day,” Boggs said. “I don’t know if that will happen or not, but there’s no way that you can know one way or the other if you don’t try.”
“Catie’s so young right now,” Bruch said. “As long as she continues to apply herself, she’s going to accomplish a lot in the sport of swimming. I’m just waiting to see how she’ll do when she gets older. She just has that determination to succeed and to win, and not every kid has that. She just applies herself. She’s not lazy at all in training.”
For now, however, Boggs is just satisfied with being able to pursue one of her greatest passions.
“Qualifying for the USA Central Zone Championships is just awesome,” Boggs said. “I wouldn’t be able to (go to a national competition) if God didn’t give me the ability to swim, which he has, so it’s very good.”