WINSTED — A day after Northwestern High School’s Alex Beauchene won the boys race in the Berkshire League Cross Country Championships, he continued to be an inspiration for what can be accomplished by dedicated athletes in this COVID-19 altered year.
Tuesday afternoon, Beauchene signed his letter of intent to swim for Division I Providence College.
You read it right — swimming, not cross country — because, for three months a year since middle school, Beauchene practices and competes in cross country while continuing his swimming practice. The rest of the year, he just swims.
And, as coaches at half a dozen Division I and high-level Division III schools who recruited him would tell you, Beauchene may be a good enough runner to win yesterday’s BL cross country championship, but he’s a much, much better swimmer.
In a Northwestern program that’s owned the Berkshire League swimming and diving championships for the past eight years, Beauchene holds school records in the 50- and 200-meter freestyle, the 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. He holds the BL record in the 100 freestyle as the league meet’s high scorer for the past two years.
And he won the Class M 200 freestyle state championship as a sophomore before last spring’s tournament cancellations deprived him of a chance for more.
Starting his swimming career with the Lasers club teamn at age eight, he added cross country in middle school, then refused to let it go.
“It’s the personal aspect, wanting to uphold what I’ve accomplished for six years,” he says.
But Beauchene, currently ranked fifth in his class with a 4.45 GPA, is quick to add that it’s much more than just the records.
“It’s being part of the team in both sports. Part of my goal is to help my teammates achieve their goals,” Beauchene says. “I’m a firm believer in the cliché ‘There’s no I in team.’ Cross country and swimming are not individual sports; because of what we go through together, we’re all the closer. I’ll just be swimming at Providence, but I’ll have lifelong friends in both sports.”
Career plans and ambitions come as no surprise in a young man capable of focusing on two grueling sports at once along with academic honors — “I sometimes take Friday nights to keep up my homework, along with free periods,” he says.
“I want to go into the medical field and I’m particularly interested in orthopedic surgery, so I’ll be a biology major at Providence,” Beauchene says.
“I’ve been shadowing with the local ambulance corps for the last two-and-a-half years and I like the idea of being able to help people who need it.”
In an era when COVID-19 and finances have shut down college swimming programs across the country (including UConn’s, where he thought he might go before their shut-down) Beauchene is encouraged by his future coaches’ excitement about building the Friars’ program from middle-of-the-pack to bigger and better things in the Big East.
Raise your hand if you think Beauchene’s presence will help achieve that goal.