TEEN OF THE WEEK
Garden Spot senior swims in the fast lane BY WENDY S. CALDWELL, Correspondent
Garden Spot High School doesn't have its own swim team. But that hasn't stopped senior Tyler Clisham from excelling as a swimmer.
"I swim eight days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday before school and after school again,'' he says. "I even practice on the weekend. The alarm goes off at 4:07 in the morning, and I'm in the pool at 5 a.m.''
His specialty is the 100-yard breaststroke. He swims independently, finding an open lane at Lancaster-Lebanon League meets.
"Let's say two schools are having a meet. If there is an open lane, I grab that," Clisham explains.
In March, he placed sixth at the District Three meet.
The teenager began his swimming career when he was 6 as a member of the New Holland Community Pool. At the age of 10, he began swimming year-round.
"Right now, I am a member of the Diplomat Swim Club at Franklin & Marshall College," Clisham says. "I've been swimming there since I was 14."
Clisham will attend Shippensburg University on a swimming scholarship. He plans to major in criminal justice.
"Shippensburg was actually my first college visit, and I loved it (right away)," he explains. "It was just awesome."
Inspired by his uncle and cousin, who work in criminal justice in Berks County, the teen hopes to become a police officer.
"I like the idea of protecting people,'' Clisham says. "I want to help give back to my community.''
Each afternoon, the teen interns in the district court office of Judge Rodney Hartman. He also has shadowed New Holland Borough police department officers.
"I've gotten to see how the justice system works,'' he says. "I've learned that crime isn't cheap."
The National Honor Society inductee carries a 3.8 grade-point average. He is taking a college-level composition and rhetoric class.
"It's helped me work on developing my supporting ideas for my essays,'' Clisham says. "I can see a big difference in my writing.''
Clisham lists meteorology and astronomy among his favorite senior-year courses.
"It's a lot harder to predict the weather than I thought,'' Clisham says. "There are so many variables.''
During the past two years, Clisham has taken a woodworking seminar, during which he built his own bedroom furniture.
"I built a king sleigh bed and the nightstand for myself, and this year I'm finishing an armoire."
The 18-year-old takes some time to jump out of the pool to play golf. He was a four-year member of Garden Spot's varsity golf team.
Clisham, the son of Bill and Amy Clisham, is a member of Ranck's United Methodist Church, New Holland. In the past, he has volunteered with his youth group at Garden Spot Village, talking with the residents.
"They told us stories about 'back then.' It was interesting hearing about how they entertained themselves,'' he says. "They talked about going out in the yard and playing with friends. I mean, they didn't have Internet!''
During the summer, he is a lifeguard at the New Holland Community Pool.
He lives in New Holland with his parents and older sister, Meghan.
His family -- die-hard Notre Dame fans -- enjoys traveling together and has visited Mexico, Disney World, the Outer Banks and Stone Harbor, N.J.