When Chandler Crowe makes a decision, he’s not messing around.
The standout Billings Skyview athlete set some lofty goals for himself for his senior season, and so far he’s right on schedule -- first earning all-state honors as a linebacker for the Falcons’ football team, and now pursuing more state championship medals in swimming.
“I’ve always felt like if I set my mind to something, I can achieve it,” said the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Crowe. “This summer I had to make a decision … football camp and the Western Zones (swim meet) were the same week.
“I sat down with my parents and I decided that I want to play football in college, so I went to camp and did everything I could to have a good season in football. I reached my goal of being all-state and I’m getting some letters from colleges, so hopefully that goal will be reached.”
Crowe is sure to receive letters from college swim coaches, too. At last year’s state meet, he successfully defended his 2011 title in the 100 backstroke in 52.47 seconds and also won the 200 individual medley in 1:58.26, winning by a margin of seven seconds in the backstroke.
“He’s just a natural athlete and natural competitor,” said Billings District 2 swim coach Matt Santala. “He could swim pretty much any event except for the breaststroke and be a threat to win the state meet. That’s a luxury for a coach to be able to plug him in wherever we need him to maximize our (team) points.
“I know Chandler is looking at football as his college sport right now, but he could do extremely well as a college swimmer.”
Crowe is part of a standout Skyview boys team that has aspirations of making a run at the State AA team title.
Though Crowe is not officially a team captain, Santala said his growth as a team leader in the past two seasons has been “great to watch.”
“Chandler has really worked with (assistant coaches) Mitch Crouse and Mike Walz to help him determine where he wants his goals and ambitions to be … he’s a lot more conscious of how he wants to be perceived, not only as a swimmer, but a student and a leader.”
Crowe agrees that he had room for improvement as a teammate, adding that the personality of this year’s Falcon boys team is “awesome.”
“My freshman and sophomore year, I admit I was just here to swim,” he said. “I knew all about the team thing from football, but I never really applied it to swimming until last year … I just always swam as an individual.
“But I learned that even though swimming is definitely an individual sport, you’re part of a team. Being part of the team and being one of the leaders is something that I really enjoy. This team is so fun. We have team dinners and we have so much fun we don’t want to go home … the parents eventually just kick us out and make us go home.”
Crowe and his teammates will be in action Saturday in the Billings Public Schools meet, which begins at 11 a.m. at the Rocky Mountain College pool.
In addition to helping Skyview chase a team title, the goal-oriented Crowe has one more big one on his list for 2013 -- the state record of 49.8 seconds held by former Missoula Hellgate swimmer David Cromwell in the 100 backstroke.
“I’ve had my eye on that one for a while,” said Crowe, who was a national age-group level triathlon competitor in his early teens. “It will come down to that one race (at state) … my plan is to go for it and see what happens.”