Swimmer Sloan Signs with University of Massachusetts

Senior+Ben+Sloan+signs+to+swim+at+the+University+of+Massachusetts+in+the+Free+State+library+in+December.+Coach+Annette+McDonald+looks+on+from+his+side.

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Senior Ben Sloan signs to swim at the University of Massachusetts in the Free State library in December. Coach Annette McDonald looks on from his side.

sarah lieberman, reporter

Google Maps directs any Kansan on their way to the University of Massachusetts to pull into I-70 to begin the 21-hour drive to Amherst, Mass.  Even for an athlete like senior Ben Sloan, the distance is lengthy.

Sloan recently signed with UMass to continue his swimming career throughout college.

“UMass was my first Division I college that contacted me,” Sloan said. “I really liked the coach, liked talking to him, and I took a visit up there and loved it… so that’s kind of how it happened.”

While any spectator at a local swim meet wouldn’t be able to miss Sloan’s talent, a decade ago he wasn’t quite as sure of himself.

“I started when I was seven, and I went to the first day of Aquahawks to tryouts,  and I hated it. I absolutely hated it, and quit for about a year.”

A year later he reconsidered and has been swimming for the past ten years.

“I guess I didn’t quit because I never started.”

Sloan, who holds four school records, remains humble. He thanks two of his coaches, Justin Clossen and Zach Devine, for aiding him throughout his swimming career.

“Those two have both done so much for me,” he said.

Sloan practices for two-and-a-half hours eight to nine times a week.

“I don’t know where I’d be today without swimming,” he said. “If I would have just quit that first day and never stuck with it I would not be in this position. It’s made me who I am today.”

Sloan will make Free State proud as he continues on to swim at UMass.