Prep swimming: Chamberlain welcomes new challenges at Skyline

Chamberlain's family has a tradition of success at Olympus.
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Skyline sophomore Mckay Chamberlain comes from a long line of swimmers. Olympus swimmers.

His uncle Matt holds most of the Olympus records, and his father, Lee, swam for the Titans. Mckay's brother Jarom is a senior on this year's Titans squad.

So when Mckay came home from school one day in the ninth grade and told his parents he wanted to go to Skyline for his sophomore year because of the school's International Baccalaureate program, their response was, "You're out of your mind."

It took some convincing, but the challenge of the advanced schoolwork finally won out and Mckay Chamberlain became a Skyline Eagle.

"My family is so hard-core Olympus that it took some time for them to see the benefits of the advanced classes," Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain hopes to become a doctor, so the AP and honors classes in the IB program at Skyline are a good fit.

"I was really challenged in seventh and eighth grade at a private school, but I didn't feel challenged in ninth grade and was looking for a challenge and a way to get to and through med school faster," he said.

Academics isn't the only challenge facing Chamberlain, who was diagnosed with a mild case of scoliosis at a young age.

He finished the 100 freestyle at the 2012 Utah State long-course championships, but he couldn't get out of the pool because of excruciating pain.

"When I finished the race, I couldn't move, so I somehow drug myself out of the pool and went to the emergency room in the worst pain of my life," he said.

Chamberlain found a stroke of luck when his new coach at Skyline, Joe Pereira, who suffers from a bad back, recommended that Chamberlain see his doctor.

"The doctor explained that my back is degenerative and it's the muscle spasms that cause the extreme pain," Chamberlain said.

With a curvature of his spine at 26 degrees, Chamberlain said his doctors told him they won't perform surgery until it hits 56 degrees. So for now, he goes to physical therapy once a week, works on his core and sometimes gets let out of the Skyline two-a-days.

"Mckay and I talk on a daily basis about how his back is feeling," Pereira said. "We try to get as much out of him as we can without overdoing it."

The intermittent rest seems to be working. Chamberlain already has eclipsed last year's best times in the pool.

"He's really a unique swimmer because he can swim a lot of different events and distances, and that helps our team," Pereira said.

In addition to his back pain, Chamberlain deals with chronically sore shoulders and hamstrings that he says are too tight to swim the breaststroke.

"My doctor said I had the back and shoulders of a 40-year-old," Chamberlain said. "It sucks, but Coach does a really good job of helping bring the pain level down." —

Meet Mckay Chamberlain

Skyline sophomore swimmer Mckay Chamberlain transferred from Olympus to Skyline because of the school's International Baccalaureate program.

Diagnosed with mild scoliosis as a youngster, he goes to physical therapy once a week.

His older brother Jarom is a standout for Olympus.