Selah Pilkington is drawn to the water.
The junior is a stalwart on the Bryan swimming and diving team and wants to build a career in marine biology. Her love for aquatics even shows up in another of her passions — art.
Pilkington balances a busy schedule between swimming obligations, International Baccalaureate classes and several extracurricular organizations — NHS, Technology Student Association, junior class council and Key Club. But she makes time for art, especially painting, which provides a way for her to unwind.
“I really like doing landscapes and stuff like that, skies, like today with the sunrise, it was really pretty,” said Pilkington, who has taken art classes since sixth grade. “Since I don’t want to consume myself with school and swim all the time, I really like having that creative outlet.”
She gets plenty of time to flex her creative muscle in her IB art class, which requires an extensive portfolio. Students must have 10 pieces for their senior exhibition, write a 10-page comparative study between their art and the work of another artist and put together a process portfolio, which is a slideshow featuring all of their artwork. It’s a tremendous workload, but for Pilkington, the fun makes it worth it.
Like many of her interests, Pilkington’s love for art is both shaped by and feeds her passion for swimming. Her favorite painter is Claude Monet, famous for his depictions of water lilies and a French artist at the forefront of 19th-century impressionism, a style in which Pilkington bases much of her work.
“I like painting water,” Pilkington said. “A bunch of my pieces have to do with water or aquatic life.”
It’s only natural that she’s at home in the pool, where she swims the 100-yard breaststroke and 100 freestyle as well as several relays for the Vikings.
Pilkington is the top seed in the 100 breaststroke and second seed in the 100 freestyle for the District 18-6A meet set to start at noon Friday at the Cy-Fair ISD Natatorium at Pridgeon Stadium. The top six swimmers in each event advance to the Class 6A Region V meet on Feb. 1 at the Cy-Fair ISD Natatorium.
Pilkington, who advanced to regionals last season, has a season-best time of 1 minute, 10 seconds in the breaststroke and wants to knock that down to 1:09 before the end of the season.
“She’s got long arms, long legs and a strong core, and that really helps to be a great swimmer. The physical makeup is there,” said Bryan head coach Glenn Williams, who also coached Pilkington on a club team when she was 8. “We have goals related to time because we can’t control what other people do. It wasn’t about making state or getting first or second, but she’s set her goals, and she’s working hard to get them.”
No matter how far she gets this season, Pilkington still has another year in the water at Bryan. In the meantime, she hasn’t decided if she wants to swim competitively in college, but it’s a sure bet she will be in the water in some form or fashion.
She is eyeing the marine biology programs at Florida Tech and Texas A&M-Galveston, which doesn’t have a swim program. Even if she doesn’t swim competitively, Pilkington said she wants to continue swimming in intramural events in college.
Of course, she also wants to continue drawing and painting.
“Having something that’s separate from everything and just for myself is really important,” Pilkington said.