By Connor Bradshaw Van Lier Ribbink ’13
T.J. Decker ’13 is commonly seen walking with a confident swagger and an outfit with color combos and patterns never seen before.
Decker isn’t just a stylish kid, but also captain of a swim team looking to make history this year.
Brophy swimming is well known for simply winning and of course for their streak of 24 straight state titles. Now Decker finds himself captain of this winning tradition.
The water has been Decker’s second home throughout his life.
“I have been swimming with the same club, Arizona Marlins, since I was three years old. Competitively since the age of eight,” Decker said in an e-mail interview.
Practicing every day all year round has given Decker bountiful experience in the water, enough experience to land him on the Brophy state team three years in a row. Since freshman year, Decker has swam in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medleys and according to teammates is the best breast stroker on the team.
“T.J. is committed, focused and driven on one goal, win. He lets nothing get in his way and this is what has lead him to be the number one breast stroker,” said co-captain Luke Williams’13.
Although his three years in Brophy swim has delivered success, this year is special because Decker is now captain of the Brophy squad and they could not be more pleased with their leader.
“Decker is a leader because he knows how to put people before himself, especially the underclassmen on the team,” Williams said about fellow captain.
However Decker is modest about his leadership role.
“Being the captain of this family is a great privilege. I will do as much as I can to keep the legacy growing and I want to thank all the swimmers on my team for giving me this opportunity,” Decker said. Decker said winning the team’s 25th straight state title is a definite, which is easy to believe being the last time the team lost was when Ronald Reagan was in office. Brophy all together has a total of 35 rings.
Decker’s leadership is testament to the seasons winning start.
“We have only had two meets so far and I feel great in the water. I am piling on multiple miles a day in practice and I am confident this will pay off in the end.”
The goal for the season that Decker has set for his team isn’t just winning state, but achieving a top spot in the national ranking.
“We have some nice competition around the Valley. There might be a few teams who could get close to half of our score,” Decker said.
Another goal the captain set was to see Brophy swim get more support from the student body.
“We had a great showing at our first home meet, and I hope to see more of that,” he said. “We are on the path to do what no one else has done.”