A swimmer who has already accomplished what he set out to do this season, David Snuffin is thinking ahead to what he wants to accomplish at the state championship.
It has nothing to do with placing in the 50-yard freestyle.
In fact, it has nothing to do with swimming.
“I want to jump off the (platform),” he said, referring to the 10-meter high platform at the top of diving tower that is not used in high school events but is there at the King County Aquatic Center.
“I wanted to do it last year, but I was afraid I was going to get in trouble, so I didn’t do it,” Snuffin said.
Yeah, the WIAA probably would have frowned on a guy doing a cannonball from a height of 33 feet during warmups.
Now a senior at Columbia River High School, Snuffin likely will not get away with that type of stunt this year, either.
Still, just the fact that he would rather make that leap than win a state championship shows he is different than your typical, record-breaking swimmer.
Snuffin was part of the 400 free relay team that broke a school record last year.
“It felt so good to break it, so I used that as motivation, to see if I could break more records,” Snuffin said.
If this were a typical story about a typical stellar athlete, this would be where the athlete, typically, would throw himself into the pool for hours on end, months at a time, in order to prepare for that final season, to break the marks.
Snuffin, though, got out of the pool after state last year, and barely returned to the water at all until after football season.
“I swam with friends in the summer, for fun. Recreational,” he said. “No serious training.”
Then it was all about his fall sport. Snuffin was instrumental in Columbia River’s Class 3A Greater St. Helens League football title and state playoff berth. The Chieftains played into November.
It wasn’t until after football that Snuffin found the pool again.
“It sucks. It hurts,” he said, recalling those first few days in the water. “Those muscles are dormant. I didn’t use them for eight months.”
In fact, he claims he is still working on getting into swim shape.
His results show he is already there. Snuffin broke the school record for the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.37 seconds and has already qualified for state. Then he broke the school mark in the 100 free (50.57) and has two more chances to qualify for state in that event.
“We really tried to push him into club swimming,” Columbia River coach Ashley Hayes said. “I’m not sure if swimming is his love or if he does for the social aspect. But he is great at high school swimming.”
The coach and team think highly enough of Snuffin that he is one of the team’s captains.
“He has been very dedicated this year. He’s very coachable. He listens well. Whatever we ask him to do, he’ll do it,” Hayes said. “Most of the time, it’s worked out pretty well for him.”
Snuffin wants to finish strong enough in his top two events that his younger brother, Casey, cannot top them.
“Easy,” Casey, a sophomore, answered when asked if he would one day break his brother’s marks.
“That’s what he thinks,” David said.
David Snuffin said the key to his development this year has been swimming with the top group of swimmers on the team.
“I’m with people who are in better shape. I don’t want to be embarrassed,” he said. “I want to keep up with them. I’m finishing all my sets, too. This year, I’m trying my best to finish every one on time.”
Once the state swimming championships conclude in February, Snuffin said he likely will turn his focus to a land sport. He wants to try out for Columbia River’s soccer team.
Water will come calling again, though. No, not college swimming.
Snuffin wants to join the Navy, with aspirations to become a member of the SEALs.
“I like dangerous situations,” Snuffin said.
Both of his grandfathers were in the Navy.
“I really want to serve my country and maybe make a career out of it,” he said.Plus, there is at least one really cool fringe benefit: The Navy will allow David Snuffin to jump from tall structures into bodies of water.