CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- There was a time, around when Eric Cypser was 12 years old, he had a coach that said Cypser would never be faster than him. That was all the motivation the now Albemarle senior needed.
Cypser races in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle for the Patriots swim team. He eventually beat the time set by that coach, but that wasn't enough.
"I want to keep improving," Cypser said. "I think that beating it was a great thing and it motivated me, but I feel like I can do better and I want to keep getting better."
That coach was not Albemarle's JJ Bean. Motivated was the first word he used to describe Cypser. He added that when Cypser started for the Patriots as a ninth grader, he wasn't the best.
"He likes to figure things out," Bean said, "so he likes to know that there's a special way to do things and figure that out and if he doesn't do things, he gets really, really hard on himself. So, he's had to work for and figure out how to be a great swimmer and he's done a great job."
"Swimming has been such an important part of my life," Cypser added, "and being able to keep up with school and do swimming it makes me feel really good."
Cypser hasn't just kept up with school, he's excelled in the classroom with a 4.5 GPA at Albemarle High School. As a senior, Cypser is a captain for the Patriots, but leading didn't come naturally. He honed that craft as a coach over the summers.
"Everybody's great on the team," Cypser said, "but there's always a couple instances where people can be tough and I don't ever want to be that person that makes someone feel down. So being a coach really helped me build everybody's confidence on the team in general."
"I think they he'll be able to get his goals in life just by working hard," Bean added, "overcoming obstacles, being not afraid of failure, but being happy learning step by step."