Soft-spoken and understated about his swimming practice demeanor, Valparaiso sophomore Isaiah Parrish still gains attention from his teammates.
"We call him the 'silent assassin,'" Vikings coach Adam Nellessen said of Parrish. "He's very quiet, but he works himself hard; he's a competitor."
So far, he's netting results for the Vikings. Parrish won the 50-yard free (23.39) and the 100 free plus swimming on two victorious relays in a 140-42 season-opening win over Hobart on Saturday. Despite a 97-89 Duneland Conference loss to Lake Central on Tuesday, he won the 100 free (50.76) and again played a part in two relay wins.
"I was pretty nervous swimming for Valpo for the first time," the Michigan City transfer said. "I think I did pretty good."
Parrish started swimming when he was 5, and also started age-group competition at that time. As a member of the Michigan City Piranhas, he qualified for the Central Zones in 2012.
Prior to this school year, the family moved to Valparaiso so his father, Harvey, could be closer to work. The younger Parrish didn't speak out about the transfer.
"My parents want me to put academics first, and the classes here are a lot harder," Isaiah said. "I've learned how to manage my time with swimming. I've been able to find a balance."
Parrish's unselfish nature helps build a balance on any team he joins. He considers himself to be a sprinter, but he placed sixth in the 200 free (1:49.22) and fifth in the 500 free (4:59.11) at last season's sectional for the Wolves.
Valparaiso senior Andrew Antonetti qualified for state in both distance events events the last two years, so Parrish has been moved to the shorter distances.
Parrish said he doesn't mind the move, and enjoys working with his new teammate.
"I looked up to him when I was Michigan City; Andrew is really fast," Parrish said. "Now, I'm actually practicing with him. I'm motivated to want to be like him."
But most of Parrish's motivation comes from within.
"I guess I don't really rely on others to motivate me," he said. "I feel I can push myself."
Parrish said he has gained strength through a new training regimen, and hopes that work will lend itself to time drops.
"We've definitely been doing a lot of dry land work," he said. "I feel I got a lot bigger than I used to be."