Holland High School girls' swimming and diving's Taylor Garcia, who captured two MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 2 girls' swimming and diving individual state titles last week, is this week's Meijer-97.9 WGRD High School Athlete of the Week honoree.

Taylor Garcia won a pair of individual titles at the MHSAA Division 2 Lower Peninsula girls' swimming and diving championships in Holland on Saturdayl (Photo: J.R. Valderas/Holland Public Schools)

"I really like the high school season because it give you something to trigger yourself for," said the Holland High senior, who also swims for Byron Center Aquatics. "It motivates you."

Garcia won individual honors in the 100-yard butterfly in 53.95 seconds (breaking her own state record of 54.01) and 100-yard backstroke in 53.37 in competition at the Holland Aquatic Center in Holland. Her efforts earned her honors as MHSAA Division 2 Lower Peninsula swimmer of the year for the third consecutive season.

Holland finished 10th at the state championships on Friday and Saturday, with Bloomfield Hills Marian winning the team title.

Over her four-year career, she won eight individual state titles -- four each in the butterfly and backstroke. She also helped the Lady Dutch win six relay titles and three Division 2 state championships.

"She's a bright light," said Kathy Kreps, an assistant coach to Sam Soukup for Holland High and who also coached Garcia in middle school. "Her academic and athletic accolades speak for themselves, but she's rare in that she always breathes humility. ...

"She's constantly giving credit to past teams and swimmers," added Kreps, a Holland High physical education teacher. "Team is first. It's all about everybody getting the credit they deserve ... with her."

Very true, with Garcia pointing to current Hope College swimmer Klare Northuis, a Holland grad, as being among her mentors. Among the Dutch swimmers she has swam alongside are Courtney Bartholomew, who currently competes for the University of Virginia, and Emily Bos, who's a senior at Auburn University.

Her humility in attitude and approach is evident as Garcia readily admits to her being "proudest" of the team's ability this season to get better "connected." She was one of six senior co-captains for Holland, and she immediately points to juniors like Claire Cebelak and Anna Giesler, who both placed at the state meet.

She is planning to swim with Byron Center Aquatics in the 2014 Speedo Junior Winter National Championships Dec. 10 to 13 in Federal Way, Wash., near Seattle. Then, she plans to take three weeks off, she said.

Garcia has also competed at the U.S. Olympic trials in addition to the U.S. Swimming national and junior national championships. Last June, she finished 10th in the 50-meter backstroke at the U.S. national championships.

At Holland High, she carries a 4.0 grade-point average on a four-point scale. In addition, she helped co-found the diversity awareness student group Calling All Colors (which "is something I hold very close to my heart since I am 25 percent Mexican," she said). Also, she is currently publicity chair for the National Honor Society.

The daughter of Shawnda and Mike Garcia, of Zeeland, she plans to enroll and compete at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., next fall. She has career aspirations to be a medical examiner.

Congrats Taylor, from Meijer and WGRD as well as Channel 95.7, 100.5 The River, 98.7 WFGR and 1410 AM The Touch.

Taylor Garcia has captured eight individual state titles during her Holland High School girls' swimming career. (Photo: J.R. Valderas/Holland Public Schools)