With 126 of 206 total votes cast after a three-win performance at a meet in Byron, La Salle-Peru/Ottawa boys swimming’s Owen Phillips is The Times Athlete of the Week, sponsored by Northern Insurance Group, LTD; Jim Boes Services; and Christian Reynolds American Family Insurance.
Also on the ballot were runner-up Tommy Durdan (Marquette boys basketball), Christian Benning (Streator boys basketball) and Carolyn Megow (Fieldcrest girls basketball).
Next week’s ballot will be online Monday morning and accessible via Facebook (The Times Sports) and Twitter (@jtpedelty), with voting going through midday Wednesday.
Here is a Q&A with this week’s winner:
As an Ottawa High School student, how did the swimmers from La Salle-Peru welcome you as a freshman when you joined the program?
When I joined the team as a freshman, I was welcomed pretty well. I had already been swimming with and against some of the guys on the high school team, and they knew me and what I would be bringing to the team.
How old were you when you started swimming, and what drew you to the sport?
I was 2 when I was put into swimming lessons and then 5 when I started competitively swimming. I’m not sure why I stuck with it at first, but as I got older and I played other sports, I realized that I am a swimmer, so I began to dedicate the most time for swimming.
What is your prematch routine?
Before my races, I always have one of my teammates smack my back as hard as they can to get me really fired up, then I smack my legs and chest like a gorilla, and then I shake my opponents’ hands and wish them good luck right after I intimidate them and strike true fear into their eyes.
Is there a fact about you that might surprise people who only know you through sports?
I strive to be a true academic weapon in the classroom, and I enjoy doing calculus. Some may even call me the “Calc Ninja.”
Is there any particular music that gets you hyped up for a race?
I’m kind of all over the place with music before races. Sometimes I’ll listen to songs like “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Kickstart my Heart.” Sometimes I’ll listen to songs like “Just Dance” and “Payphone,” and then the other times I’m listening to rap like “Superhero” and “Dreams and Nightmares.”
What do you eat the morning before a big Saturday meet?
The morning of a big meet, my go-to is always cinnamon rolls. I have probably had cinnamon rolls for breakfast the day of most of my big meets, and then I always go and perform well. After the meet is over, it is always nice to go to a local place, because some of the local restaurants have the best food.
What movie would you say you’ve watched more than any other?
I think I have seen the movie “The Benchwarmers” about eight times.
Do you have any college plans yet? If so, do they involve sports?
I will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the fall, and I will swim there and will study in the business field, specifically probably finance or accounting.