PORTSMOUTH — Simply put, Austin Vaughters liked and appreciated what Gerald Cadogan had to say about swimming —and in particular what the coach had to say about Shawnee State University.
As a result, Vaughters — a senior at Notre Dame —recently announced his intention to swim for Shawnee State, which was made official during his signing ceremony inside the Notre Dame High School gymnasium.
Vaughters has been a key cog in the Titans’ county and conference swimming machine — as Notre Dame defended its Southern Ohio Conference championship this past season, making it six consecutive SOC titles for the long-successful Sunrise Avenue school.
Vaughters was flanked by his parents Jody and Cashawna Vaughters; sister Savanna Vaughters who also swims for Notre Dame; Notre Dame High School swim coach John Taylor; Notre Dame High School Athletic Director Bob Boldman; and the SSU swim coach Cadogan.
Vaughters, who has swam since junior high so totaling six years, first thanked ALL his NDHS swim coaches — then discussed Cadogan’s SSU selling points.
But Vaughters too, despite an offer from Ohio University in Athens, wanted to swim in his proverbial back yard.
“It was a great opportunity and Coach (Gerald) Cadogan came and talked to me about it. It just seemed like it was the most interesting thing for me. I was always interested in being a student-athlete at the college level, and him offering a swimming scholarship to me just put it out there in my face. I took it and ran with it,” said Vaughters. “I was so ecstatic that he gave it to me, and it was better than anything else I’ve been offered. The OU offer wasn’t interesting to me, because I wanted to stay home. It was more appealing to me to stay home, stay close to family and continue my education here.”
Vaughters, who as a senior captured the boys SOC 200 SC meter freestyle in two minutes and 50 seconds, said he started swimming by doing distance events in junior high and as a freshman.
But he soon transitioned to sprint swims, primarily the 50m and 100m events.
His personal-best times were a 59 seconds in the 100m and 26 seconds in the 50m.
And, he said, “I felt my times insanely got better”.
“It was going from like a minute and 20 seconds in the 100 in junior high to under a minute.” he said.
Vaughters said he can swim at Shawnee State both distance and sprints, and will race in whatever Cadogan decides upon.
“Whatever works for him. I know he has some sprinters, but he has built that program up from what I’ve known,” he said. “Whatever he decides to put me in, I’ll work on.”
Vaughters said he plans to major in “maybe” Business Administration, expressing a desire to “go into Business and Finance”.
One thing the future SSU swimmer is sure of is that he prefers the pool over the gym, and is grateful for the chance which Cadogan is offering him.
“Very excited and ecstatic about the opportunity. Not a lot of people like it, but I always grew up loving water,” said Vaughters. “When I got into swimming, I always knew this was for me over basketball.”
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved