Prep of the Year: Gavin Green

Ever since moving from New York to Marin in 2017, Redwood senior Gavin Green has used his dedication and determination to establish himself as a dominant force in the pool. After swimming on the pre-senior team for North Bay Aquatics for one year, Green was promoted to the top senior team as an eighth-grader ‚a very impressive accomplishment for a middle schooler. Green then swam at the varsity level all four years at Redwood and was named captain his senior year. Green’s accomplishments, however, were not achieved with ease. He worked constantly and tirelessly to improve his times in the pool while maintaining a difficult course load. Green was also involved in various clubs and organizations while being class president from freshman to junior year and associate student body President his senior year.

As a middle schooler, Green won most of his races with North Bay Aquatics and was viewed as one of the best swimmers in the Bay Area. In 2015, he swam in a meet in Greensboro, North Carolina where he won eight out of 12 events that he participated in. However, at the beginning of his high school career in 2018, Green’s times did not improve at the same rate as his competitors. He did not grow as he had hoped and his times struggled to improve.

“I had a little bit of a rut. I wasn’t growing and my times weren’t [improving]. That is [when] I had to persevere the most, and  I learned a lot,” Green said.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Green turned to weight training and gained a lot of strength as a result. The combination of weight training and a long-awaited growth spurt allowed Green’s times to improve drastically. North Bay Aquatics coach, Don Schwartz, has worked with Green for the past five years and commends Green on his work ethic. 

“Gavin has grit; it’s that simple. He has goals, and he is willing to work towards them even when [his goals] are frustratingly close and not attainable today,” Schwartz said.

Starting his junior year, Green began to see his hard work pay off. After he returned to competing after the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, he continued to struggle in short course events (25 meters) but excelled in long course events (50 meters). While Green had fast times in longer races, college coaches were not drawn to his talent because collegiate scouts only consider short courses. During his senior year, however, Green tried different training techniques which were more sprint-focused rather than endurance-focused. In turn, he saw his short course times improve immensely. From 2020 to 2022 Green’s 100-yard freestyle race time went from 51.06 to 44.92: a huge improvement. Green also set a new personal best in all of his events from 2021 to 2022, proving the progress of his new training. Another leading aspect of his success was Schwartz, who always had full confidence in Green’s abilities. 

Loosening his muscles, Green gets ready to dive into a race for his club team North Bay Aquatics.

“Coach Schwartz is the one who always believed in me,” Green said. “When I swam a fast time he [was] not even surprised because he knew how I worked and that when you grind pay attention you can really achieve amazing things. He put that into my mind and told me that I can achieve those amazing things.” 

According to Schwartz, Green is a diligent worker and takes on the hardest sets with the most enthusiasm in order to push himself to the limit. 

“We have an iconic set called the Simon Burnette kick set (a high-intensity kicking exercise). Gavin chose an interval that was extremely difficult, and he was barely making it through the rounds. He was perfectly able to go to a slower interval that would have been less painful but he chose to stay on that interval. He was dogged. When he gets his teeth into something he doesn’t let go easily,” Schwartz said. “He just doesn’t quit. I don’t know where that comes from, but he just has grit.”

Green has become a leader for both his club team and his high school team. He leads by example and has been a great role model for many of his teammates. Redwood senior Cat Watrous, a longtime teammate and University of Indiana swimming commit, spoke of Green as a leader that she will never forget.

“Last year we were at a meet in Utah. Going into the meet, Gavin was still an underdog. In his first event, he blew everyone out of the water, and he swam really fast. That was such an important race for his career, and it put him on the radar for colleges and be able to get recruited,” Watrous said.

Posing with his Redwood teammates, Green smiles to celebrate their strong finish at North Coast Section (NCS) championships.

This fall, Green will be studying and swimming at the Naval Academy in the fall, which is respectively known as one of the most prestigious schools in the country.

“Signing with the Naval Academy is an honor [because] you are helping your entire country. I can continue the grind while excelling academically as well as in the military, which I think is one of the highest honors because I love this country,” Green said.

Looking back on his high school career, Green has enjoyed his time at Redwood and is ready for a new challenge. As he looks back at his career he appreciates the adversity he faced and remains proud of his hard work.

“If I could say something to my 13-year-old self, I wouldn’t say that we made it because I am not there yet,” Green said, “I would definitely say that I’m glad that we kept going.”