St. Charles East senior Shea Hoyt figured to encounter pool pressure simply by growing up in a swimming-saturated environment.
That she credits her family’s move to St. Charles for jolting her career suggests something about her parents’ largely casual approach, and something more about what Hoyt feels inside each time she prepares to dive into her lane.
Yes, Hoyt is the daughter of two former collegiate swimmers – one a former Olympian – and the sister of another one-time collegian. Still, she said she derived equal motivation from her teammates after the Hoyts relocated from Atlanta in late 2011, eventually turning that momentum into a nod as Kane County Chronicle Girls Swimmer of the Year.
“Last year, I was definitely overwhelmed because it was my first year swimming high school in Illinois,” Hoyt said. “There was definitely an overwhelming experience. But this year, I felt like I knew what I needed to do. I was more comfortable this year.”
Hoyt earned the Chronicle area’s top individual finish at last month’s IHSA state meet at New Trier, placing third in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:03:07. She also was part of East’s fifth-place 200 medley relay and 12th-place 200 freestyle relay.
Classmate and fellow Iowa recruit Izzie Bindseil joined Hoyt in the 200 freestyle relay. The duo played a big role in the Saints’ Upstate Eight Conference and sectional championships, as well as an eighth-place team finish at state, the program’s first top-10 showing since 2010.
“Just great spirits,” East coach Joe Cabel said. “They enjoy swimming and they enjoy the team. Just absolutely have not been any kind of problem whatsoever. They’re two great kids.”
Hoyt made friends at South Forsyth High in the Atlanta suburb of Cumming, Ga., but soon had to leave them after her father, Rick, transferred positions at Pepperidge Farm midway though Hoyt’s sophomore year.
She competed for just one high school season at South Forsyth – prep boys and girls both swim during the winter in Georgia – but joined the St. Charles Swim Team club program shortly upon her arrival in Illinois.
That’s where she met Bindseil and many of her current friends while embracing SCST’s enjoyably competitive culture.
“It was awesome that I could go to school and swim with my best friends,” Hoyt said. “It’s just a really great group of girls.”
Added Bindseil: “We’re all pretty laid back. None of us are too crazy or tense, and I think that’s what helped our team.”
Hoyt endeared herself to the Saints as a junior, finishing seventh in state in the 100 breaststroke. Her swim of 1:03.92 was the fifth-fastest in the event, although she was racing in the consolation final.
Hoyt’s mother – the former Mary Lubawski when she represented Canada in the 1984 Olympics – competed in the 200 breaststroke in the Games. Years later, she met her husband when both were athletes at Georgia. Hoyt since has surpassed her mom’s top time in the 200 breastroke, swimming in the 2:34s, about one second faster.
“Shea’s a hard worker. She knows that hard work pays off,” Mary Hoyt said. “I always told her that. Every meet you go to needs to count. It’s for a team and it’s not just going to happen overnight.”
Hoyt’s older sister, Shelby, won a Georgia state title in the 500 freestyle in 2011 and was runner-up in the 200 freestyle. She committed to North Carolina State but no longer competes there.
These days, about the only time off Shea Hoyt allows herself is a week between the end of the IHSA season and the beginning of her club workouts. The family headed to Georgia for Thanksgiving.
“It was good to just rest and take it all in, kind of relax a little bit,” Hoyt said. “That’s always nice.”
Too much rest can lead to complacency, however, something Hoyt doesn’t see herself fighting.
Whether at the Norris Center or at home, it runs in the family.