SANBORN, N.Y. (WKBW) — An early start to a varsity career is normally a testament to talent. But instead, for Niagara Wheatfield junior Paul Wissel, it started to foster some self-doubt.
"I was getting down on myself. I never thought I was going to be anywhere I am today," Wissel said. "And it was my mom that kept motivating me to keep swimming and be better. She saw the talent I had."
With the help of his mother, his teammates, and his coaches, Wissel came to realize that the key to getting his times down was just a matter of putting in the time. As a junior, he's one of the Falcons' team captains.
"I like the example all of them are setting for the team," head coach Michael Corsaro said. "And you can see Paul in practice, he works his tail off. And it rubs off on the others."
"To have that noticed, and have the hard work I put in the pool every day shown, I really respect them for choosing me," Wissel said.
That hard work has paid off in the pool as well as on the deck. This year, Wissel broke Niagara Wheatfield's records in the 50 meter freestyle and the 100 meter breaststroke. But his plaque won't go up until the end of the season.
"I won't actually put them up now," Corsaro said. "I'm wasting my money putting the records up because he's just going to knock them down again."
Wissel's hard work has also paid off in the form of extending his season; he's the first Niagara Wheatfield swimmer ever to qualify for states in three events.