CSSC Senior Spotlight: Reese Balkcom

Sharyn Mason

Reese Balkcom, of CSSC’s National Team, got her feet wet in terms of competitive swimming at the very young age of five years old.  Her family was living in Texas at the time, and after completing swim lessons covering everything from being safe in the water to learning the strokes, she transitioned to the competitive swim team in her community.   After about five years with her team in Texas, Reese’s family relocated to South Florida and she found a new swim home with Coral Springs Swim Club. She began with Coach Jessica’s Green Group, and then followed the progression of being promoted to White Group, then Blue, and then finally to the National Team. However, when Reese was just entering her teen years, the Balkcom family transferred back to Texas. This was a shorter stay in Texas, as after her first two years of high school, they returned to South Florida and Reese happily returned to CSSC.  It is a credit to her determination and dedication to swimming that Reese continued to compete through all of the moves.

Settling back into South Florida, Reese attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for her junior and senior years, providing the high school swim team with strength in the middle-distance events. Her senior year in particular was extremely successful, as Reese qualified for the FHSAA Class 4A State Championships in both of her individual events, as well as in a relay.  Her journey to States began at the 4A District 10 meet, where she finished second in the 500-yard freestyle and third in the 200-yard freestyle. Moving on to the more competitive Regionals meet, Balkcom remarkably improved her positioning, taking second in both the 200 and 500 free to qualify for the State meet.  Reese was also a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay team for Douglas, with the team finishing fourth at Regionals and earning a trip to the State meet as well.  Her trip to States senior year turned out to be her favorite memory of high school swimming.

Just as during high school season, Balkcom is most successful in the middle-distance freestyle events at club meets, however she doesn’t shy away from swimming the stroke events.  Just don’t suggest that she swims the mile, as Reese desperately tries to avoid that event.  Her favorite memory from Coral Springs Swim Club is the training trip to Orlando that her team took in the summer of 2023.  Not only does she recall the practices and going to Universal, but what sticks in her memory the most is setting a muffin on fire in the toaster oven.  At 5:00 a.m. no less!

Her busy swim and school schedule doesn’t afford her much time for other sports or clubs.  However, no matter how busy she is, Reese will always make time for her family.  The Balkcoms enjoy scuba diving and spear fishing, either locally, or by heading down to the crystal clear waters of the Florida Keys.

Reese’s future includes enrollment at Florida International University, where she plans to major in Biology with a plan to enter the pre-med track.  She chose FIU because of the excellent quality of education that it affords, and also so that she could live at home, as her family is utterly important to her.  She’s keeping her fingers crossed that her class schedule doesn’t coincide with rush hour however, so that she’s not stuck in daily traffic.  But she’s willing to pay the price to continue family life with the Balkcoms.  Reese is hanging up her competitive goggles, although she still plans to swim recreationally and for exercise.  She will miss the practices, coaches and friendships that she formed during her years with Coral Springs Swim Club, but is ready for the next chapter. Congratulations to Reese Balkcom!