Owen Howell Keeps ‘Laser Focus’ on Goals

Owen Howell has played a lot of sports, among them baseball, soccer, and swimming, but it is swimming that he found the most interesting, and that’s what he’s stuck with since he was about 10 years old. Now a sophomore on the Foxes boys swim team, Owen made a quick impression last year as a freshman when he qualified for the 2021-2022 PIAA championships after winning third place in the 100 breaststroke at the WPIAL championships.

With the current regular season only halfway through, Owen has already qualified for the 2022-2023 WPIAL championships in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke events. He also is a force in the water in the 200 breaststroke and 400 IM.

“My goals this season are to get my Juniors cuts (Junior National Meet) in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, and get to sections in the freestyle events,” Owen says.

When faced with such challenges, Owen takes a very strategic approach. He explains, “I try to overcome challenges both in and out of the pool by thinking about my long-term goals and how overcoming the challenge will help me get closer to them. I think about how I can overcome this challenge, no matter how hard it may seem.”

Coach Dan Taylor has seen Owen’s potential since he mentored him as a member of his Killer Whales swim team, a feeder group for the high school. He was not surprised to see how well Owen did in his first year at the varsity level and has seen much improvement in the ensuing year.

“Owen is developing into one of the best breaststrokers in the WPIAL,” says the coach of his young athlete. “He has a strong work ethic and laser focus that he brings to practice every day. Even though he is only a sophomore, he is a strong leader on the boys team. He is no different outside of the pool. He is a high-achieving student who places just as much emphasis on academics as he does swimming.”

“I think I’ve grown a lot as an athlete in the past year,” says Owen of his progress. “My whole mindset has changed. I am aware of the hard work necessary to achieve my goals, and I’m willing to put in that work.”

Even with the grueling practices – before and after school, and then with the Killer Whales in the evening – Owen still is motivated by the competition provided by the sport.

“It’s hard to explain why I like swimming, I just do,” Owen says. “I think that’s very important, because if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, then you have little chance of reaching your full potential.”