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Reagan Linkous enjoying time with Duquesne swim program


Reagan Linkous did not begin her swimming career until she was in high school.

“I first started swimming competitively when I was a freshman in high school. I was 15 years old when I started out. I started swimming at Club Mountaineer Aquatic Club because I knew the coach, Renee Riggs, from summer league meets that I had attended in the past. And a couple of my friends were on the team.”

A Morgantown native, she is a 2020 graduate of Morgantown Christian Academy.

Linkous is not the only athlete in her family. Her grandfather, Wayne Denham, played Basketball at Fairmont State and professionally in Holland for the Bona Stars. Her uncle Aaron Denham also played basketball at Fairmont State.

“My grandfather went on to play professionally overseas in Holland. They both inspired me to work hard and achieve the goals I desired for myself,” Linkous said. “My grandfather especially inspired me because of how he came from a very poor family and yet rose up to the challenges that life threw at him. He paid his way through college and worked his hardest to be the best he could be. He also inspires me to give glory to God in all I do.”

As a freshman at Duquesne, Linkous was part of the 400-yard medley relay team that set a pool record at the One Team Only Invite.

“The 400 medley relay was a really fun relay to be a part of,” she said. “I honestly didn’t even think about the record being broken until after we already swam. I was just absorbed by the energized atmosphere. I swam my leg of the relay and then cheered on my teammates. I was just having a good time until I heard someone mention something about the record. I looked at the record board and saw that our time was faster. It just made the relay that much more awesome to be a part of.”

Linkous also placed first in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:03.67.

She was part of another first-place 400 medley relay team at the Intra Squad meet. She holds the eighth fastest time in Duquesne school history in the 100 backstroke.

“Seeing as though I have only swam about three meets including an inter-squad meet thus far, having the eighth-fastest 100 backstroke time in Duquesne history is an honor,” Linkous said. “I have had amazing help from my coaches at Duquesne. They are very passionate about the sport and desire for success not only from each of us individually, but for the team as a whole. They have helped me tremendously with my technique and training me into the swimmer I am now. I have only had a few short months on the team and only a few opportunities to show my improvement, but during those months I have grown in my swimming ability a great deal.”

But in the midst of her record-breaking season, Linkous found out she had COVID-19.

“Before we came back on campus, we had not only quarantined for 14 days, but also, we had to test negative for COVID, which we all did,” she said. “The first day we got to campus we had to test again, and we all tested negative. About four days after testing negative, me, along with some of my friends, developed cold-like symptoms. We didn’t think anything of it, but we told our trainer to be safe. Our trainer told us to get tested right away before we went to practice. We simply thought we would get tested and go to practice with yet another negative test under our belts. However, as each test was processed, each one came back positive. We were all shocked to say the least.”

Linkous feels her freshman season has gone well despite the challenges with COVID.

“Unfortunately, COVID really put a damper on our season,” she said. “It prohibited us from having in-person meets in the fall; therefore, we are just now starting to have what is a ‘normal season.'”

Before becoming a Duke, Linkous finished first in the 200 IM, 400 IM, 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke at the 2019 West Virginia LSC State Long Course Championships. She finished second in the 100 butterfly, first in the 200 backstroke, 100 backstroke, 400 IM, 800 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay at the 2019 West Virginia LSC State Short Course Championships.

“It was an honor to place as well as I did in my time swimming in West Virginia,” Linkous said. “I got a late start to swimming seeing as though all of my swimming friends have been swimming since they could walk. Because I had such a late start, I knew I had to work extra-hard to get to the same place as them. I never missed practice and I gave each practice my all.

“Because I never missed swim practice, I missed out on a lot of things that ‘normal’ teens do. I didn’t go to parties or out to the movie or get food with my friends very often. The only reason I got to have sleepovers was so my friends and I could carpool for 5 a.m. morning practice. I went to practice before and after school, leaving the house at 4:30 a.m. and not getting home until 8 p.m. I knew that this dedication would pay off in the end, and it definitely did.

“It was incredibly rewarding to see the fruit of my labor with placing so well in the state meets in West Virginia.”

She is the daughter of Tim and Kendra Linkous. She has a sister, Kennedy, and two brothers, Tyler and Harrison.