HPCA’s Cranford signs with Carson-Newman

Jun. 04, 2013 @ 10:48 PM

Landis Cranford knew he wanted to swim in college.

All the 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls, all the laps training in the pool and all the hours working out in the gym were to prepare himself and give himself the best opportunity to do so.

Now he’s made that goal a reality, as Cranford, a senior at High Point Christian Academy, has signed to continue his swimming career at NCAA Division II school Carson-Newman University.

“Just when you see how you get faster, and just the pursuit of going to college — I knew it’d all be worth it in the end,” says Cranford, the son of Woody and Lori of Greensboro, of seeing his hard work pay off. “It’s awesome. I’m really happy.”

Cranford, who now excels in the 50 and 100 freestyle and 100 and 200 breaststroke, began swimming in summer leagues when he was young and took up swimming year-round when he was 10 years old.

He’s always been drawn to the nature of swimming, with his success in the pool resting solely upon his shoulders. That’s why he’s pushed himself so hard and why, ultimately, he’s been so successful over the years.

“It’s just kind of an individual thing,” he says of why he enjoys swimming. “You don’t have to rely necessarily on your team. You can perform at your best. And if you let yourself down, then you let yourself down. There is a team aspect, but mostly because it’s more individual.”

Throughout high school, Cranford has been a standout in the pool for the Cougars. He has earned all-conference all four years, qualified for states all four years and finished as high as fourth in the state in the 100 breast during his junior year.

In order to reach that level, though, he’s had to focus on swimming, which also means sacrificing other activities. But he’s been willing to do so to perform at his best and achieve what others haven’t.

“You have to give up social stuff and spend time in the weight room,” Cranford says. “It’s rough. But the first time I got a call from a coach, that’s really what kept me going. … I definitely wanted to swim in college, and winning’s just a great feeling.”

He narrowed his college choices to also include Wingate, Pfeiffer, Gardner-Webb, UNC Wilmington and Catawba. But it was the all-around package Carson-Newman provided, plus the facilities and the coaching staff that finally solidified his decision.

“It feels great,” says Cranford, who wants to study biology and pre-dental. “But, at the same time, I’m going right back down to the bottom. I’ve got to work my way back up. It’ll be a challenge, so it’ll be interesting.”