Northeast Tarrant

Bell swimmer eager to get his feet off the ground

Bell swimmer Hunter Johnson plans to attend Texas A&M-Galveston’s ROTC program after graduation, with a goal of becoming a U.S. Navy pilot.
Bell swimmer Hunter Johnson plans to attend Texas A&M-Galveston’s ROTC program after graduation, with a goal of becoming a U.S. Navy pilot. Courtesy photo

Whatever career path he goes down, Hunter Johnson doesn’t plan on staying on land.

Johnson, a junior member of the Hurst L.D. Bell swim team, has his sights on entering the U.S. Naval aviation program. He has already decided to attend Texas A&M-Galveston’s ROTC program.

After that, the sky’s the limit — literally.

“The reason I would like to have a major in aviation is so I can become a pilot for the U.S. Navy for search and rescue,” he said. “And if the plan doesn’t work out, I would enjoy to learn more about aquatic life, so having a marine biology major would go a long way in achieving a better understanding of wildlife.

“I could never accept just staying on land. I want a better understanding of the world, and seeing it from the sky or ocean would be a different look at the world I live on.”

Johnson began swimming around age 9. Subsequently, his interest in the naval program started around the fourth grade.

I could never accept just staying on land. I want a better understanding of the world, and seeing it from the sky or ocean would be a different look at the world I live on.

- L.D. Bell junior swimmer Hunter Johnson on his career goals

“Just being able to leave to go on the high sea and explore the world as it is,” he said of his ambition since childhood.

Ironically, he had no plans to be a top competitive swimmer. In fact, soccer was his sport of choice, and one he thought he’d take into high school. That was before he was left with a choice of finding a new team or a new sport.

“My soccer team was disbanded, so I was looking for a new sport that challenged me to do better. I found a swim team that was looking for new swimmers,” he said.

He joined the Mid-Cities/Arlington Swimmers. After four years, he achieved a speed that now has him doing great things for the Blue Raiders.

He has advanced to the regional competition his first two years of high school. He’s also qualified for the prestigious Texas Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Meet.

He and his teammates, in fact, have their sights on a record in the 200-meter freestyle relay. They are eight seconds off of the time of 1:32.66.

“He has become the type of teammate and swimmer that has earned the respect of everyone around him,” L.D. Bell coach Jesse Barton said of Johnson. “As fast as Hunter is, he is very coachable and is always open to suggestions and ideas on how to be a better swimmer. As a coach, I appreciate these qualities in an athlete over their talent in the pool.”

When he’s not swimming, Johnson loves being outdoors. His hobbies include hiking, kayaking, water polo, and canoeing. He also likes hunting with his brother-in-law.

Johnson said swimming has brought him more than success in the pool. For example, he is a team captain and takes that honor very seriously.

“It has taught me to be more outgoing and more thoughtful about bringing a group together to reach a common goal and achieving by never giving up and pushing everyone,” he said.

Barton believes this is only the beginning for his star swimmer.

“Hunter has great potential to be successful in whatever he decides to do after high school. He possesses those qualities that make him stand out over everyone else,” Barton said.

“The skills I have gained through swimming will assist me in my career as an officer in the Navy,” Johnson said.

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