De Puey displays leadership, versatility in pool for Tigers

Noelle De Puey performs the breaststroke in the 200 m IM

After the long days of practice, when her whole body aches, Noelle De Puey often asks herself,
‘Why am I doing this?’

The answer, for De Puey, is partly because swimming is a family sport.

“My family has always swam,” De Puey said. “Both my mom and sister swam.”

She has been swimming for five years and this year, as a junior in high school, De Puey is one of Grand Junction High School’s top swimmers.

De Puey specializes in the 100-yard backstroke, but she isn’t a one-trick pony.

She’s one of the most versatile swimmers on the team. Du Puey also swims the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle, and is on all of the Tigers’ relay teams.

She is roughly six seconds from reaching the state cut time of 1:04.30 in the backstroke.

“When I swim good races or do well at a meet, I tend to like it,” De Puey said.

Du Puey and the rest of the Tigers will be back in the pool Jan. 9 when Grand Junction travels to Montezuma-Cortez.

Grand Junction coach Dale Leonhart said De Puey seems to have a good grasp of what is expected of her in the pool.

“Noelle does a good job of coming out and swimming, but she doesn’t quite have the background yet,” Leonhart said. “But she understands what she has to do and is getting more aggressive on the front end, so after we finish the month of January, she will be ready to go.”

Leonhart said De Puey is talented, but the one thing that sticks out to the longtime coach is her attitude.

“She is a great kid and you can’t ask for a better teammate,” Leonhart said.

“She is always positive and has a smile. She is always supportive and selfless.”

That selflessness might be something she will want to get over if she wants to be a great swimmier, her coach said.

“She won’t put herself first, which might be a little bit of her problem,” Leonhart said. “She needs to understand it’s OK to love yourself a little more in swimming.”

Halfway through the season, De Puey has already made some good strides and has set some goals for the end of the season. 

“I have always been good at the backstroke,” De Puey said. “I really want to make it to state in that swim.”


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