By TIMOTHY MEDINA
From the beginning, Egg Harbor Township senior Winchester Ployratana had a passion for swimming. That passion continued until around middle school. However, it was Eagles varsity coach Mark Jamieson who inspired Ployratana to join the swim team at EHT High and take a swing at competitive swimming one more time.
“Winchester has come a tremendously long way. He took a small break from swimming before high school and, lucky for us, he agreed to join the team to add some depth as a freshmen. This sparked his love for the sport,” Jamieson said. “He has continuously improved throughout his four years, finishing as a team captain and individual state qualifier in two events. He was also on three record-breaking relays and I’m confident to say with his work ethic and talent, he will continue to have success as he goes on to swim in college.”
In light of all of his accomplishments, Ployratana said he feels especially proud of the team’s last-second victory over St. Augustine Prep this season.
“My personal highlight from this year was definitely in the 100-yard freestyle at St. Augustine Prep. We were losing by a couple seconds and I was able to win the event by a second,” Ployratana said. “I’m grateful for my team who rallied me to keep pushing myself until we came away with the victory.”
The EHT Boys’ Swimming team finished with a record of 8-1 and their season came to end with a loss to Cherry Hill East in the South Jersey Public A championship meet. However, that loss does not take anything away from the amount of success both Ployratana and the rest of the team had this season.
“He is someone who’s work ethic cannot go unnoticed,” Jamieson said. “As people look to him for his secret to success, they see him practice and understand it doesn’t come free; he puts in a lot of hours and meters to be at the level he has achieved. He is also a stand-up guy who supports his teammates and is a great ambassador of Egg Harbor Township High School.”
With the season in the books and the next step approaching quickly, Ployratana plans on making waves after high school. He also had some words of wisdom for his team, and some final words for his coach.
“After high school, I plan on swimming at The College of New Jersey. I would like to thank coach and the rest of the team for everything,” he said. “My final words to them would be, ‘keep working hard. Manifest your own destiny.”
Ployratana wasn’t the only one with final words. Coach Jamieson had some words to say to the parting senior as he goes on to the next level: “Enjoy what the next chapter has in store for you, don’t skip a page.”