His high school career behind him, Gregori’s Andrew Britton is looking forward to a stress-free summer of training and working on the family farm before heading off to the University of Utah.
His senior season of swimming – and a major upcoming meet last December – were left in doubt after a football injury during a pickup game with friends on Thanksgiving Day.
But after gutting out a sixth-place finish in his signature event – the 100-yard breaststroke – at the Speedo Winter Junior Championships in Iowa a few weeks later, Britton shut down pool activities until mid-February.
Three months later, in May, he came within a half-second of defending his title at the CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships in Clovis.
That he lost to Oak Ridge’s Ben Dillard was OK with Britton, The Bee’s All-District Male Swimmer of the Year.
“It’s the type of thing where Dillard and I go back and forth,” said Britton, whose relay team also collected a 13th-place finish at the Meet. “He’s a great competitor and a great guy. He’s a beast.”
He said he led after the first two laps, was barely ahead after the third and couldn’t hold off the talented Dillard, who had beaten Britton at the Sac-Joaquin Section meet.
Mind you, Britton gave Dillard full credit for the State Meet victory. However, that knee injury he suffered didn’t help his cause.
“That last 15 yards ... it slipped away from me,” he said. “That came down to not having the winter training months behind me.”
Nevertheless, after the way it began, Britton was pleased with his senior year.
“I wasn’t expecting much,” he said.
But, he worked hard and slowly got back into shape. His times at Clovis in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley were better than last year’s state performances. His breaststroke time of 54.49 earned him All-American status.
Now, he’s focused on making a good impression on Utah’s head swimming and diving coach Joe Dykstra. Britton weighed several college options, and made recruiting trips to North Carolina, Virginia and Michigan, among others.
In the end, Utah made a good impression on Britton. That Dykstra made a trip to Modesto “showed me he cared,” Britton said.
During Britton’s visit to Salt Lake City, he got to meet members of the team, who he said all seemed focused at competing at the highest level. Add to that swimming against Pacific 12 Conference foes Stanford, Cal and UCLA, among others, it all added up.
He said the Utes’ top breaststroker graduated this year, and the coaches are looking at Britton to eventually fill a key spot.
“Definitely by the time I’m a sophomore, junior, senior ...,” he said, “They expect me to be the top guy.”
He’ll just need to make sure to stay off the football field.
Andrew Britton File
Favorite App: Snapchat
Favorite Show: The Office
Favorite Music: Country
Summer plans: Train and work
Favorite swimmer: Aaron Peirsol
If I could have dinner with one person, who would it be? Steph Curry