Photo by Andrew Brown ’18 | Parker Hughes ’19 competes in a freestyle event.
By Camden Andl ’19
Parker Hughes ’19 has been swimming since second grade and is one of the most prominent swimmers on the Brophy swim team.
Hughes grew up in Jakarta, Papua New Guinea for seven and a half years, and had a very different childhood than the average Brophy student.
He said that Jakarta was a lot like the United States, besides the fact that it was more polluted and that it had not been discovered by western civilization.
While in middle school in Indonesia, Hughes was coached by a former Swedish Olympic coach.
“Practices were pretty insane, but I improved a lot over there and learned to love swimming,” he said.
Hughes was on the state team last year as a freshman and said he hopes to make the A-finals in some of this year’s races.
“As a team, I’d like us to crush the other teams and ultimately win a national championship,” Hughes said when asked what his hopes were for this year.
Hughes’ varsity swim coach Mr. Pat O’Neill said that Parker is one of the fastest swimmers in Arizona in his age group but that Hughes brings more than just speed to the team.
“Parker is mature for his age and is a tremendously hard working kid,” Mr. O’Neill said. He makes good choices and manages his time well so he can go to six or seven practices a week.”
“I think Parker is going to get two gold medals this year in our relays and score top four or five in his individual events, which as a sophomore, would be a pretty awesome accomplishment,” Mr. O’Neill said.
Hughes watched a lot of the swimming events in the Rio Olympics and said that his ultimate goal is to either compete in the 2020 or 2024 summer Olympics.
Hughes said that American Anthony Ervin’s 50-meter freestyle stood out to him in this year’s games.
“He won back in 2000, so it was pretty cool for him to win 16 years later.”
Hughes’ teammate Tim LaFave ’18 said that Parker brings a lot of energy to the pool every single day.
“Parker is always out there encouraging all the guys to keep going,” LaFavesaid. He wants to bring out the best in all of us.”
When Hughes is not swimming for Brophy, Scottsdale Aquatic Club or with his brother, he said he enjoys watching action and comedy movies.
It’s rare to find Hughes not training or studying. Hughes said he hopes to attend the University of Texas at Austin, both for their academics and swim program.
“It would be a dream come true for me,” Hughes wrote in an email regarding the University of Texas at Austin.