Olympic swimmer and McMinnville Swim Team coach Paige Northcutt has been named as a member of the Warren County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
Northcutt is among 11 others and one group announced to be inducted at a banquet before being honored at the Pioneer home football game on Friday, Aug. 27.
Paige competed in the 1988 Summer Olympics winning a bronze medal in the 4x100 free relay.
“It was a lifelong dream. I guess that’s what every Olympian person tells you, but it is the long-term goal that every athlete probably has to make that Olympic team and represent your country,” said Northcutt.
She grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and began swimming at a young age because of boredom.
“I was bored with nothing to do one summer and my mother said, ‘Let’s go try the swim team,’” she said.
Swim team remains a big part of her life. She coaches the McMinnville Swim Team and it all started when she moved here 29 years ago. Bill Gilley asked her if she would help out with the team.
She is a large advocate of McMinnville getting an indoor pool in order to expand the swim opportunities, and says she will keep trying to get one.
Along with swim team, she also gives swim lessons.
“I do it for the kids. It’s all about watching them gain self-confidence in themselves for being able to go across the pool or achieving better times, or just improving their overall water capability because it’s what swimming did for me,” said Northcutt.
Northcutt believes everyone should learn how to swim, not just children.
“I think every person in the world needs to know how to swim. We are surrounded by water. I’m getting ready to teach a 50-year-old woman here in August because she has grandkids and I’m teaching another woman who is probably in her 70s how to swim as well,” she said.
Even though McMinnville is not next to a beach like in her home town of Fort Lauderdale, she says McMinnville residents have access to multiple creeks and rivers making swim lessons important.
Northcutt has had a successful swimming career and says her favorite moment would have to be representing her country on the world stage at the Olympics. Along with bringing home the bronze medal from the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, she also came home with lifelong friends and life experiences.
“Swimming took me around the world. Swimming gave me self-confidence and taught me self-esteem, time discipline and time management. It made me friends worldwide who, because of the Olympics right now, I text when someone from their country does well,” she said.
Northcutt is honored to be inducted in the Warren County Sports Hall of Fame.
“It is a great honor, I mean it truly is an honor to be recognized for something I’m so passionate about which is swimming,” she said.
She is especially grateful to be inducted because she is not a McMinnville native, but she has definitely made her mark here.
“I’m not from here, although they have pointed out to me that I have lived here longer than I have lived in Florida. Someone asked me last night if I call McMinnville home, and I would have to say yes, I call McMinnville home.”