For senior swimmer Joey Agena, the goal of coming to SPIRE was simple: improve his skills and take his talents to the next level with a major collegiate program. Joey is the latest SPIRE success story and recently announced his intent to join the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners swim program.
It was a dream come true for Joey, who wanted to stay local while pursuing the next steps of his swim training and competition.
Joey enjoys long-course and short-course competing, but before enrolling at SPIRE, the challenges of 2020 were making his dreams of taking his sport to the next level seem as though they would never come true.
Joey explains, “After missing my entire junior season, plus several months of training and long course during the summer of 2020 because of COVID, it really looked like my dream of competing at the Division I level was slowly starting to slip away from me until I discovered SPIRE.”
Crediting hard work and the dedication of coaches like Thad Schultz, SPIRE’s Director of Aquatics, Joey believes his choice of SPIRE was the defining factor in his acceptance to Cal State Bakersfield. He explains, “I chose to come to SPIRE because I wanted to make an impact and focus on my swimming, especially as a senior. I needed to improve a lot if I wanted to compete at the next level.”
The graduating senior found himself challenged, but excelling and growing through determination, focused coaching, personalized training sessions, and SPIRE’s Olympic-grade facilities and pool. “SPIRE was everything I needed that I did not have back home. Everything was right there for me: the pool, weight room and classrooms were always right there for me.” Joey drew even more inspiration from SPIRE Ambassadors like Olympic medalists Caeleb Dressel, Elizabeth Beisel, and Ryan Lochte.
Being accepted by a major collegiate program was the next step for Joey, who is excited about his future. “I chose Cal State Bakersfield because I wanted to stay close to home. It’s truly a blessing to be able to attend and compete for the Roadrunners.”
Coach Schultz notes, “Joey is a great competitor. He has truly made some great strides here at SPIRE in working toward his goals. Joey has become a better trainer and is much more focused on where he wants to be and has also done a great job adapting to the difference between living in Los Angeles and living in Geneva, Ohio.”
Joey understands that although hard work and SPIRE made this next step possible, his parents are the reason that he was allowed the opportunity to pursue his goal. “My parents have always put me and my swimming first, before anything, and I couldn’t thank them enough for what they have done for me.”