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ALWAYS READY: North Clarion’s Patrick Young Accepted Into the Coast Guard Academy After Standout Career in the Water for Brookville Swim Team

LUCINDA, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Patrick Young was betting on himself.

A North Clarion senior and standout for the Brookville boys swim team, Young had plenty of offers from colleges to continue his education and race in the pool for them.

Good schools. Competitive schools. Places where Young would probably be perfectly happy and content.

But none were his dream destination.

That was the United States Coast Guard Academy, and he would not compromise — even when the doubts crept in and woke him in the middle of the night.

“There were some nights when I was kind of going back and forth, thinking, ‘What if I don’t (get into the Coast Guard Academy)?” Young said. “But then I’d think, ‘I’ve done all the work over the past four years.’ You have to have confidence in yourself that, yeah, you can get it done.”

So Young, who had no trouble handling the pressure of big meets while cutting through the water in record time for the Raiders as part of a swimming co-op with North Clarion and Clarion, bided his time.

He had to turn down offers from schools that were filling final roster spots, leaving Young little wiggle room if he was not accepted into the Coast Guard Academy.

“The other schools kind of had a timeline,” Young said. “They were telling me either us or the Coast Guard, and I really put my faith in that I would be given an appointment. I had to be patient because the Coast Guard is truly what I wanted to do. I wanted to serve our country and help better myself as well, not only as a person, but as a leader. So saying no to those other colleges was showing that faith in myself.”

It was well-placed.

Finally, the news he had been waiting for came. He was accepted into the Coast Guard Academy.

That’s not a simple thing to do. Only about 300 out of thousands of applicants are awarded an appointment into the academy each year.

Young was one of only approximately 300 applicants to be accepted into the Coast Guard Academy this year/Submitted photo

“It was a great feeling,” Young said. “All of the service academies are really difficult to get into, but the Coast Guard is one of the more difficult ones because of how small of a branch of service they are. I was honored to get an appointment.

Young will also swim for the Coast Guard Academy.

Young said he is well aware of just how lucky he is to do that.

“When you are thinking about going into a service academy, your sport kind of takes a backseat,” Young said. “After you graduate, your sport has no meaning. You’re an officer in the United States Coast Guard.”

Young excelled just as much in the water as he did in the classroom and in the community.

He won nine District 9 championships — seven individual golds and two as part of relays at Brookville. Young also owns five Brookville records, as well as numerous pool marks.

“It means a lot to me because of all the hard work I put in, not only my high school career but also as a young swimmer,” Young said. “It meant more to be able to contribute to a team that had everyone working toward the same goal. The individual titles were nice, but the relay titles definitely meant way more to me because we all had that same goal. We were all working really hard toward it.”

Young finished sixth at the PIAA Swimming and Diving Championships in the 100 breaststroke as a junior.

He was ninth this year in that event, as well as ninth in the 100 butterfly. His time in the 100 breast as a senior this winter was better than the one he posted as a junior at the state meet when he won a medal.

That was difficult for Young to reconcile.

“I went faster, but placed lower,” Young said. “It kind of has given me the motivation to work harder in the summer and use it for my freshman year at the collegiate level. I want to be a contributing factor as soon as I get there and fix the mistakes that I need to fix so that won’t happen in the future.”

Young got serious about his craft before his freshman year in high school.

That’s when he realized swimming was his thing. Everything else fell away.

He had played basketball and was a thrower for the track and field team, but he left those sports to focus solely on swimming.

“My freshman year rolled around, and it was like, ‘It’s really hard to juggle all of this,’” Young said. “Swimming is number one. That’s when I dropped everything and started training in the summer and going to camps.”

Young also said he didn’t want to risk injury playing another sport.

“I roll an ankle in basketball, or tear and ACL or hurt my shoulder throwing, and all that work is for nothing,” Young said. “All that work my coaches put in would be for nothing. I didn’t want to do that. It wasn’t worth it. It was a smarter decision to focus on swimming.”

Young is now focused on his future, which he hopes will be with the Coast Guard after he graduates from the academy.

He’s always been drawn to the water — both as a career and as an athlete.

Young will do both. A dream come true.

“I want to serve this country and do my part,” Young said. “I want to be a leader, to make people better as well. That’s my goal in life.”