Paige McCormick and her twin brother spent one year training together at the same venue.
It did not go well.
Was it due to the siblings’ maniacal competitiveness?
Or was it because, well, they just simply don’t like each other?
Both questions can be answered with a resounding "no."
In this case, it was simply a matter of preference. Paige was fond of the water, while Brad was more partial to the gym.
"Brad and I swam together for a neighborhood swim team when we were about seven," Paige said. "He didn't exactly enjoy it as much as I did. Similarly, I didn't enjoy basketball as much as he did."
It seemed to work out OK for both siblings.
Brad, a senior captain on the Hudson boys basketball team, recently earned second-team Suburban League National Conference honors.
As for Paige, let’s just say she was comfortable with her choice, as well. That’s because a certain bold phrase will likely be part of many conversations when it comes to the teenage swimmer’s accomplishments.
"Greatest of all time."
Paige recently concluded a storybook career as a member of the Hudson girls swimming and diving team, which finished fifth at the Division I state meet last month in Canton.
Paige, a four-year state qualifier, plans to bathe herself in chlorine for at least four more years. That’s because she recently signed a national letter of intent to continue her academic and swimming careers at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Paige plans to major in sports administration.
"Louisville was the perfect balance between academic and athletic priority," she said. "I fell in love with their athletic program and all the resources available for the athletes on campus, such as nutritionists, psychologists, and trainers.
"In addition, it has a fantastic sports administration program that I am super eager to enroll in. I had the opportunity to sit down and meet with one of the professors in the sports administration program as well as meet the additional professors. Their passion for the program and the school was the selling point for me."
Paige also considered Kentucky, Auburn (Alabama) and North Carolina State. In the end, she couldn’t deny a certain public research university that was founded in 1798.
"I couldn't stop thinking about how excited I was about Louisville after I got home after my visit," Paige said. "Fortunately, at the end of the day, my decision was easy."
Paige’s college choice hasn’t lacked star power over the years. Former Cardinals include senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, 2020 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas, Hall of Fame center Wes Unseld and longtime television journalist Diane Sawyer.
Someday, Paige could be on this notorious list of Who’s Who. If her collegiate career is anything like her time with the Explorers, it’s a sure bet the senior aquatic dynamo will be a future legend in this prestigious house of "Cards."
How impressive is Paige’s high school résumé?
For starters, she qualified for the state competition in 16 events during her four-year career. In case you’re wondering, that total is the maximum amount of events for a swimmer.
Not only that, Paige also reached the podium in all 16 of those races.
Wait, there’s more …
Paige earned four bronze medals, one silver and the girls team’s first-ever gold medal when she won the state title in the 500-yard freestyle last year.
Paige concluded her high school career by swimming in four events at last month’s Division I state meet. She finished third in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the 500 freestyle. Paige also was a member of the seventh-place 200 medley relay team and the eighth-place 400 freestyle relay team.
"If you look at what she has been able to accomplish, I would say she is the best," said Matt Davis, who recently completed his 14th season as the Explorers head coach. "She is definitely the most decorated.
"She goes above and beyond. She’s very committed and dedicated. Her family is very supportive and she’s very loyal and very respective. She’s just a fun kid to coach."
Thanks to its gifted teenager, Hudson has been a perennial powerhouse ever since Paige first trained at Ada Cooper Natatorium nearly five years ago.
The Explorers finished third at both the 2019 and 2018 state competitions and seventh in 2017.
Paige doesn’t expect much of a dropoff when she switches from navy blue to red. The talented Cardinals finished fourth at the NCAA Championships in 2019.
Louisville, which is led by head coach Arthur Albiero, finished 4-4 overall and third at the Atlantic Coast Championships during the winter.
Due to a global pandemic known as the coronavirus, the 2020 NCAA Championships have been cancelled.
"When I met the coaches and the team, I could immediately sense how family-oriented the team is," Paige said. "Every coach was equally passionate about the swimming and diving program and the athletes' success not only in the water and the classroom, but in life."
Paige was intrigued with the campus too. A certain renowned racetrack isn’t far down the road either.
"The campus has many unique buildings," Paige said. "It has all the sporting arenas and practice areas in one section, which is my favorite aspect of campus.
"In addition, one aspect of the University of Louisville that is unique and most people don't know is that Churchill Downs is directly off-campus so most of the students attend the Kentucky Derby together, which is an event I am really excited about."
While her brother may not have cared for the water that much, Paige had an immediate fondness for the pool.
Oddly enough, she was not particularly interested in swimming longer events during her younger years.
When it was all said and done, though, Paige, who also swam for Davis as a member of the Hudson Explorers Aquatics Team, learned something very important about herself prior to enrolling at Hudson.
She wasn’t meant to be a sprinter.
"When I was around 11 years old, I was a full-blown sprinter only doing 50s and 100s at meets," Paige said. "I was fully convinced that when I was a freshman, I would swim the 50 free and 100 back.
"There is a quote we use in the distance group. ‘I didn't choose the distance life, the distance life chose me.’ That is exactly what happened with me as I grew older. My practices started to become more aerobic-based and I started to gravitate toward the 200s and 500s and it seemed to work out pretty well."
It sure did. And it’s a good bet her legacy will last a lifetime.
All of this didn’t happen simply because Paige is a once-in-a-generation athlete. She got plenty of help along the way.
"Standing on the state podium 16 times couldn't be possible without my teammates specifically, all of the girls on the relays," Paige said. "These swimmers include Brittan Ham, Gaby Palazzo, Natalie Gundling, Maddie Hannan, Giovanna Cappabianca, Gabrielle Loring, Mackenzie Dewitt, Lucy Reber, Eliana Szabo and Carrie Caniglia.
"There would be no chance of getting all those finishes if they didn't do their part, as well. That's the best part about swimming at Hudson: Everyone is invested in a bigger goal. Every year, we were never concerned about the time or who beat us. We just wanted to do our best for the team."
Prior to joining the Cardinals, Paige was scheduled to compete at the US Olympic Trials in July. Unfortunately, the Trials have been postponed until 2021 due to the pandemic. In the meantime, she plans to spend some quality time with her former training partner.
Of course, things might get a little testy between the two down the road. That’s because Brad plans to enroll at a university that’s not particularly popular in a city known as the "Gateway to the South."
"Brad has come to many of my swim meets over the years just like I attend many of his games," Paige said. "Over the years, we have always pushed each other.
"Recently, we started working out together, which has been some much-needed quality twin-time after many years of differentiating schedules. Our sibling rivalry will continue since Brad will attend the University of Kentucky."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_Gannett.