Hard-working Patten a driving force for Century
Century senior Paige Patten was a state qualifier in two events as a junior in girls swimming and diving and she has high hopes for herself and the Panthers again this season.
ROCHESTER — When it comes to training for swimming, Paige Patten is a hard worker.
Sometimes the Century senior can train a bit too hard.
When that happens, Century swimming and diving co-coach Dale Magnuson sometimes has to rein in the 17-year-old Patten.
“She absolutely has a drive to succeed,” Magnuson said. “She’s one of those people that sometimes I have to tell her to rest a little bit because she will constantly push herself.”
Between swimming for Century and a Rochester club team, Patten is a year-around swimmer. She found out the benefits of training at a young age and is full of energy around the pool.
“The main reason I’m a hard worker is that’s the way I believe you should go through life to earn success,” Patten said. “I feel like cheating out on sets (in practice) and not working hard is not going to get you where you want.”
Patten is on the Century varsity for a fifth season. Her sister, Alayna, is a senior on the Wisconsin-Eau Claire women’s swimming and diving team. Paige followed in her older sister’s footsteps and Alayna was a team captain when Paige joined the Century varsity as an eighth-grader.
“I think she’s definitely the person that got me into swimming,” Patten said. “Without Alayna, I don’t think I would have gone into the sport. … I did look up to her a lot because she was also definitely a hard worker.”
Patten is one of just four seniors on this year’s Century squad. She admits she has expanded her leadership skills over the years. She is a team captain along with fellow seniors Emily Garrison, Kate Homme and Madeline Boie.
“I think it’s really important for me this year, as a captain, to assume that position and be a leader, especially for people who are younger,” Patten said. “... I want everyone to have a great experience and have someone they can look up to and lean on if they’re having a hard time.”
Patten leads by example and her teammates take note of the hard work she puts in. She is also active outside of swimming. During the summers, Patten has been a lifeguard at Rochester public pools. As a student, she has taken a number of advanced placement classes.
“We all push hard,” she said “You see the person next to you working hard and it makes you want to push. Having that dynamic is really going to help lead us to success this year.”
And the Panthers have high hopes. They are coming off a stellar season and have a goal of winning Big Nine Conference and Section 1AA team titles. In Patten’s first four varsity seasons, the Panthers have won three Big Nine titles and two section titles.
“I would say that’s our biggest goal, to go after sections and try our best to win it,” Patten said. “I really think we can with the depth we have this year and the younger girls.”
Patten said the Panthers work hard, but noted that co-coaches Dale and Megan Magnuson put in enough different aspects to make practices enjoyable.
“I think there’s a perfect balance between working hard and having fun,” Patten said. “I think you can be working hard and having fun. I think that’s what Century swim and diving, and Dale and Megan (Magnuson) really balance.”
Dale Magnuson said that despite Patten’s drive to succeed, she’s “having fun this year and she’s also being a fantastic leader.”
Patten has also been highly successful. She enjoys swimming in mid-distance freestyle events, like the 200 and 500 during the high-school season. She also excels in the breaststroke.
She was a state qualifier as a junior in the 100 breaststroke and as a member of the 400 freestyle relay. She narrowly missed a state berth in the 200 freestyle. She also qualified for state as a sophomore, but no state meet was held due to COVID.
“I normally have pretty high expectations for myself and I don’t think this year is any different,” Patten said. “I would love to qualify for state in both my individual events and both my relays.”
She has hopes of swimming in college and has upcoming visits planned to Division I South Dakota State University and Division II St. Cloud State University.
Magnuson has no doubts that Patten’s work ethic will help her succeed at the next level.
“Overall she’s just been a great teammate and a great leader,” he said.