Athletics have always played a big role in August Lamb’s family.
He has a cousin that was inducted into the Lacrosse Hall of Fame and one of his older siblings swam collegiately for two Division I programs within the Commonwealth.
The Western Albemarle High senior swimmer is on track to join that list of exceptional athletes in his family. The Class 3 state meet record holder in the 100-yard freestyle, Lamb looks poised to defend that title following a standout performance last week during the ninth annual Ben Hair Memorial Swim meet at the University of Virginia Aquatic and Fitness Center.
He won gold in four events, including individual victories in the 100 fly (51.21) and the 200 free (1:43.92) to garner Schewels Athlete of the Week honors.
“The Ben Hair meet is a big one in the Jefferson District,” Lamb said. “We don’t get many opportunities to race against the local schools, which is a shame with such a large pool of talent in the Charlottesville area. It was an honor to compete against the other schools and that meet went exactly how I had hoped it would go.”
Lamb’s ascent to swimming stardom started more than a decade ago when his parents signed him up to swim with the Boar’s Head swim team at the age of 5.
“Both of my older sisters swam, so my parents got me into the sport as well,” Lamb said. “I started playing soccer around the same time and I even tried lacrosse for a while, but [they] just didn’t click for me like swimming did. By [the age of] 8, I had moved exclusively to swimming for BHSC in the summers and CYAC [Charlottesville YMCA Aquatics Club] year-round.”
The Lamb family is no stranger to athletic success. His cousin, Sandy Weatherall, played lacrosse at Dartmouth and later for the U.S National team in three World Cups and was inducted in the U.S. Hall of Fame in 2006. His grandfather, Gordon Lamb, rowed collegiately at Princeton.
Not to be outdone, his oldest sister, Brodde, swam collegiately and Mary and set the school record in the 200 butterfly and the 400 individual medley. She swam her senior year at the University of Virginia.
Lamb said he takes a lot of pride in his family’s athletic prowess.
“I look up to my sisters, Brodde and Storrs, as role models in the sport,” he said. “Brodde was the one who got our family into swimming and she took it to the collegiate level. Both she and Storrs taught me the virtues of working hard, staying humble and acknowledging competitors’ hard work in and out of the pool.”
Lamb has been a fixture in the Western Albemarle swimming program for the past four years. He won gold in the 100 free and the 200-freestyle relay last season and is the school record-holder in two events.
“My favorite events are short freestyles, the 50 and 100, because they’re my best events,” Lamb said. “A lot of my drive comes from the crowd and these sprint races draw the most out of them. Sometimes the noise is so loud that your head starts vibrating. I thrive in that environment.”
He admits that stepping on the blocks prior to a race is an intense experience. Lamb said when he puts his swim cap on, it amplifies the noise of the spectators and that really gets his adrenaline pumping.
“Standing at the edge of the pool, it’s hard not to think about the talent you’re surrounded by, but my last thoughts before the horn sounds is what I need to remember for this particular race. For the 50 free, maybe it’s where I plan to breathe, but [once I’m] in the pool, all I’m thinking is ‘go.’ Chase anyone in front of you and leave everyone behind you.”
Swimming is a full-time job for Lamb. He practices from 5:30-7:30 a.m. Monday-Saturday in addition to four other practices during the week.
“For me, the easiest part of the sport is competition and the hardest part is practice,” he said. “I do 35,000 to 40,000 yards a week with CYAC, including early morning [swims] for multiple weeks leading up to a big meet when we can finally showcase our hard work. I see meets as a reward for the effort we put into practice.”
Another area of importance for Lamb is academics. His favorite subjects are math, science and journalism and excels in all of them. In addition, he’s the editor of the student newspaper ‘The Western Hemisphere’, and manages the paper’s Twitter accounts.
“The only things that take up more of my time than swimming is school and sleep,” Lamb said. “I consider myself an avid sleeper, but school generally attracts more of my focus. I strive to maintain my grades, which is really important with college in sight.”
Another of his hobbies is photography and videography with his drone. Lamb has created end-of-season slideshows for the Boar’s Head Swim Team and put together projects for several sports teams at Western.
“I got into drones a few years back,” Lamb said. “I’ve done mostly B-roll, nature scenes and pool flyovers and orbits. I’ve also taken it water-skiing and that yielded some pretty cool results.”
Lamb said he’s currently studying for a federal drone operator’s license, which will allow him to expand his medium for capturing shots with his DJI Mavic.
“I’ve been thinking about using it to capture footage for commercial purposes, like for real estate,” he said. “In order to do that, I have to get a remote airman’s certificate from the FAA, which allows me to use my drone for profit. It’s a pretty big gest and requires a lot of studying, but since it would allow me to help pay off my drone, I’m definitely considering it. It’s a really useful tool and the license will allow me to take it further.”
With his senior year halfway done, Lamb has started to look toward the future. He’d like to swim collegiately, and several schools have expressed interest in him during the recruiting process. He expects to announce a decision in the next couple of months.
As for the rest of the season, there’s still plenty of work to do for Lamb. Western Albemarle’s boys team is undefeated in the Jefferson District and should be a team to watch at the regional and state meets. He’s also qualified for YMCA Nationals and hopes to turn in strong performance against the nation’s top swimmers.
“Western has had a blowout season so far. The boys team is undefeated and we’re looking to keep up that momentum over the next month leading into the championship series,” Lamb said. “My biggest focus is contributing to Western as best I can and dropping time in my championship meets. Committing to swim for a college will be a big milestone for me and I believe those two goals will best facilitate that.”