Tyler Robert E. Lee High junior-to-be swimmer Michael “Chase” Fields’s three-year career with the Red Raiders parallels the existence of the Tyler Rose Aquatic Club.
Fields was about to enroll at Lee when veteran coach Robert Fletcher returned to East Texas after numerous years of living in California and founded TRAC. Today, the 16-year-old is among the longtime members on the team, which is affiliated with the Tyler Independent School District of which Lee is a part, with an eagerness to cultivate success in the water.
Fields began swimming eight years ago with a summer league team in Palestine. He then swam with a program in Athens prior to taking his talents to Tyler.
“TRAC started when I was in eighth grade, which was right around when I moved here,” Fields told Texas Scorecard. “I’ve been swimming with TRAC for as long as it’s been together.”
Fletcher described Fields as “a very enthusiastic worker” with an impressive practice attendance rate of “about 98 percent” since the former began coaching the latter. The coach added that Fields is among three athletes selected to captain the Lee swim team in the upcoming school year.
“His peers look up to him as a leader in the water and the time there,” said Fletcher.
According to Fletcher, Fields “is swimming at sectional level.” As of this writing, he was preparing for a sectional meet and is slated to compete in the USA Swimming Western Zone meet in Tupelo Later this month.
The pair are working on Fields’s future times, with Fletcher confident the goal will be met this summer. They also have a focus on Senior Nationals and Olympic trials before Fields graduates from Lee in 2021.
“I think all of those are within his reach,” said Fletcher.
As a sophomore, Fields earned First Team All-Region honors in the 100 fly and a Second Team All-Region nod in the 500 freestyle. He also won first place in the All-District 100 fly and second in the 500 freestyle.
When Lee swim coach Robert Petty named him a captain for his junior season, Fields was thrilled.
“I was excited to be seen as a leader and as somebody that Coach [Petty] trusted to be able to improve the team and show what it means to be a swimmer,” he said.
Taking state is among the goals the newly minted Red Raiders swim captain wants to accomplish. He hopes to get more Lee swimmers to Regionals.
A prominent achievement Fields is proud of as a TRAC member was being named “Ironman” at the 2019 Damon McCoy Invitational in Shreveport, La.
A competitor in distance events, Fields said that “he usually gets a song stuck in [my] head and just having it on repeat most of the time.”
“It depends on the day,” he explained. “A lot of times I’ll listen to some ‘80s classic rock in the car, and so I usually have those songs stuck in my head throughout the day and they’ll end up thought of while swimming.”
Like plenty of athletes, Fields has had his share of adversity. He recalled competing at a meet for TRAC — a senior circuit meet in Mansfield — while under the weather.
“I just had a cold, but even with a cold, I dropped a bunch of time that weekend and ended up placing overall in the meet while being sick,” said Fields. “Just knowing that I can do it while I’m sick then whenever I’m not sick, that I can do even better. And I’m just ready to go.”
Regarding the future post-Lee, Fields has his sights set on Aggieland, with Texas A&M University as his primary institution of choice.