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Hodges embraces role as leader for Pam Pack

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
As an athlete, former Washington swimmer Tyler Kelly has had tremendous success with the Pam Pack swim team, but his work as a recruiter may have had just has much of an impact on Washington.
Kelly played a key role in encouraging Ted Hodges to come out for the Pam Pack swim club, and four years later Hodges has turned into one of Washington’s top athletes.
They were right.
Hodges, the Coastal Conference Swimmer of the Year is now in the midst of his senior season, and so far has made three trips to the state competition.
On Saturday, Hodges will make a bid for his fourth straight appearance in state competition as he will compete in the 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay in regional competition this Saturday in Goldsboro.
Though he has had a lot of success in his three previous years with the team, Hodges said he never expected to win conference swimmer of the year.
That cake isn’t quite complete yet, as Hodges can add another layer to it in the following weeks if he can make it past Goldsboro.
Competing in four events, Hodges said his favorite is the 100-yard freestyle, but his coach Spencer Pake cites his work in the relay races as his best.
Last year, Hodges made it to the state finals in the 200-yard, medley relay, the 400-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay and did well.
This year Hodges has a solid chance to make it in individual races as well as relays. In a sport where your whole body has to be in tune to compete, the key to Hodges success may lie above his shoulders.
Hodges said as a swimmer, you have to adjust your mind set when competing in relays and individual races.
Pake said the key adjustment for Hodges this season has been his ability to use his relay mind set more in his individual races.
Being a senior, Hodges has also learned how to be a leader, which led to him being named team captain, a role he embraces.
Not only does Hodges like being a role model for the younger swimmers, Pake said he excels at it.
Pake said Hodges is the perfect person for young swimmers to emulate.
Hodges has spent the last four season helping to create a perfect chemistry amongst his Pam Pack teammates, and he will get continue to work on chemistry next year when he will major in it at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Though he has no plans of trying out for the swim team, he did say he will continue to hit the pool every now and then. Maybe he just needs a visit from Tyler Kelly.