BIG STONE GAP, Va. (WJHL)- In our new digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Ashley Cusano, a graduating senior swimmer at Union High School.
Swimming is an intense sport.
“You’re doing something at such a high level that requires so much more than a lot of other sports really give credit for,” Union High School swim coach Dart Luce-Edwards said.
It takes dedication, waking up early to be in the pool every day.
“You have to enjoy it honestly because there are so many times as a swimmer that you feel burn out’s gonna set in and then you realize that it’s not burn out you’re just overly fatigued,” Luce-Edwards said, who also coaches the Blue Marlins Swim Club of Southwest Virginia.
Union High School swimmer Ashley Cusano has that dedication.
“If I didn’t love it as much as I did I don’t think I’d be driving four hours a day for four years or drive to Asheville twice a week from ages 10 to 14 if I didn’t want something out of it or have like a love for the sport,” Cusano said.
Just check her trophy case; she has seven VHSL Class 2-A state swimming titles to prove it.
“Winning the state title in the 100 fly and setting a new record that one meant the most to me because I’ve been trying to get under :54 for a long time so going :53 was the best moment,” Cusano said.
Cusano crushed the competition during her four years at Union High School.
“The 100m butterfly and 100m backstroke and each year she’s broken her own 2-A state records and she’s set an unprecedented mark for Class 2-A,” Luce-Edwards said.
She has also swam at the Blue Marlins Swim Club of Southwest Virginia for over 10 years. She also teaches swimming to young kids at the swim club.
“I really like seeing the younger kids learn all the strokes and be able to swim more than half a 25 so that was a lot of fun and I really love watching the little kids improve,” Cusano said.
Cusano committed to North Carolina State to continue her swimming career at a Div-I level. All those hours driving have paid off.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.