BYU senior swimmer Justin Morin. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
Who ever thought a 6-foot 12-year-old would quit basketball, baseball and soccer to be a swimmer? BYU senior swimmer Justin Morin would.
Born in Hillsboro, Ore., 6-foot-5 Morin moved to Seattle Wash. when he was 16 years old. The son of Perry and Darla Morin, he started swimming at age 11 after continuously tripping over his large feet and spraining his ankles.
“I wore a size 10 shoe when I was 10, size 11 when I was 11, size 12 when I was 12 and every year until I was 16,” said Morin. “Now I have a size 16-foot. After spraining my ankles six or seven times, I took up swimming because my podiatrist said it was a good low-impact sport and good therapy.”
After hearing that he needed to start swimming to prolong the life of his joints, Morin found out that his dad swam for Portland State for a year. His father was very excited that he was going to start swimming so he signed him up for it.
“They taught me how to swim all the four strokes in club and I ended up being really good in the breaststroke, so I stuck to it,” said Morin.
After finishing first in state in his age group in the breaststroke, he decided that swimming was going to take more of his time, so he stopped playing all the other sports around age 12.
Morin swam for Century High School in Oregon and made it to state his freshman and sophomore years. At age 14 he had his breakout year when he came very close to the national-qualifying time in the 200 breast and he won sectionals.
Attending BYU summer swim camps, Morin caught the eye of the coaches at BYU and eventually he came on a recruiting trip. After going to Alabama, Indiana, the University of Washington and BYU on recruiting trips, BYU offered the best scholarship so he decided to be a Cougar.
Although his first choice was to be a Longhorn at the University of Texas, it was too expensive for him to just walk on to the team. But after coming to BYU he has been happy with his decision.
“I love my teammates,” said Morin. “They are inspiring and we’re a bunch of goof balls together. We don’t get a chance to socialize with the other athletes in other sports, so we are really close as a team.”
Four years at BYU under his belt, Morin will compete at Mountain West Conference Championships this week for his last time as a Cougar. That is the one thing he will miss most about BYU swimming.
“I don’t do very well during the whole year in dual meets, but I drop a lot of time at the end of the season,” said Morin. “I look forward to beating all the people that beat me during the season. It’s a chance for me to showcase my own ability.”
His goal is to place in the finals in the 100 and 200 breaststoke and to score in the top 16 in the 50 free, but knows that he’ll do the best he possibly can for his team.
After graduating in psychology this April, he plans to tour around Europe with his sister.
“We’re going to Istanbul first, my sister really wants to see Hagia Sophia – she is really into art history,” said Morin. “We are going to head over to Macedonia, Greece and then over to Italy. Next we will meet up with my girlfriend who is going to be in a study abroad and then to Germany and Spain.”
March 1st Morin will start working full-time at the psychiatric hospital in Provo while finishing up his degree.