TEMPE, AZ. — Online classes. Reading books. Improving on his cooking skills. Doing his best to stay in shape.
That’s how things have been for Arizona State University sophomore Cody Bybee these days. Bybee, a graduate of Bellbrook High School, is just doing what he can to stay focused and upbeat in light of the cancellations or postponements of the NCAA swimming and diving championships, U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and the Olympics themselves.
When the NCAA shut down its athletic programs in response to the Coronavirus, it left Bybee and thousands of college student athletes like him in search of home remedies to suit their daily workout needs.
“Our training facility is indefinitely shut down not only to the college athletes but as well for the pro swimmers we have training here at ASU. That applies to both the pool as well as the weight room. Therefore, I’ve been dealt the task of trying to maintain the level of fitness I was in before the shutdown. After collaboration with our coaches, I have an ‘at-home’ training regiment that I’m able to put into place. I have a resistance band as well as a pull-up bar in my apartment, so I’m able to get pretty creative with what I do along with some running and cardio,” Bybee said by email.
The ASU Sun Devils swimming team had finished the Pac-12 Swimming and Diving Championships in March, and Bybee was enjoying a solid sophomore season. His times in the 100-yard butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 50 free and 400 free had qualified him for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, then everything disappeared with COVID-19 and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
”All meets I had been preparing for, including NCAA’s, Olympic Trials, etc., have all been either cancelled or postponed,” Bybee said. “Fortunately, we were able to get through Pac-12’s just before the cancellation went into affect. And we were able to have a pretty good showing both as an individual and team.”
Bybee placed second in the championship final for the 100-yard Butterfly event, he teamed with Zach Poti, Elijah Warren and Jack Dolan for a runner-up finish in the 200 Medley Relay, was seventh in the 100 freestyle final and swam with Dolan, Carter Swift and Evan Carlson for a second-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay.
ASU placed fourth overall in the Pac-12 men’s championships.
On April 10, USA Swimming officials announced that the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for swimming will now take place June 13-20, 2021 at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The news ended some Olympic hopes. Bybee includes himself among those athletes whom the extra year might prove to be a benefit.
”It favors some and hurts others. I would say it was the right choice because, at the end of the day, some things are bigger than sport. In my particular situation I would say it benefits me. I wouldn’t quite say I had a breakout year, but I had all best times in every event. We changed up my style of training a little bit this year and the dividends it paid were huge, so having another year to figure out what works best for me will only allow me to prepare that much more for Olympics Trials.”
So the 5-foot-8 Bybee is doing his best to keep his grades up, enjoy reading some books — he lists “The Magic of Thinking Big,” by David J. Schwartz, “The Golden Rules,” by ASU swim coach Bob Bowman and Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a (rhymes with duck)” as his recent reads — and he’s improving his cooking skills, too.
“I’ve gotten pretty good at making steak and I like to pair it with gnocchi and spinach. I make a number of other things, but nothing too elaborate. Chicken, pasta, and eggs are a staple for me,” he said.
According to the Southwestern Buckeye League record book, Bybee still is the individual record holder in the boys 200-yard freestyle (1:40.17 in 2017) and the 100-yard butterfly (50.19 seconds in 2018). He is a member of the current record holding 200-yard freestyle relay team (along with John Sampson, Carter Caldwell and Cole Huggard 1:30.18 in 2018) and the 200 medley relay quartet of himself, Sampson, Huggard, and Cam Bybee (1:38.28 in 2018).
In March, Bybee and 25 of his Sun Devil teammates were named to the Pac-12 Winter Academic Honor Roll.
To be selected to the honor roll, a student athlete must hold a cumulative grade-point average of 3.3 or above while attending their institution for at least a year. Bybee, now a sophomore, is currently majoring in management at ASU.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123. You can follow Cody Bybee’s ASU Swimming performances at thesundevils.com.