Liam Garbutt’s favorite movie is “Jaws.”
That makes sense.
Most things in his life seem to revolve around the water.
Garbutt, a Mainland Regional High School senior, is one the region’s top swimmers. His family is synonymous with South Jersey swimming, rowing and lifeguarding.
On Wednesday, Garbutt won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races as the Mustangs won their sixth straight South Jersey Public B championship with a 98-72 win over Ocean City. Mainland will continue the pursuit of a fifth straight state title next week.
Liam’s family has made its mark as coaches and athletes.
His grandfather, Bob, coached the Atlantic City High School crew team to 13 national championships. His father, Matt, rowed for the Atlantic City varsity eight boat that finished second at the 1994 Henley Royal Regatta in England.
“I love my family and it’s reputation,” Liam said. “Everyone is always like, ‘Is your dad Matt?’ Everybody is always talking to me about my grandpa. Now I’ve kind of had my own kind of success and get to contribute to the legacy. It’s just really cool.”
Liam, 18, is the older of Matt and Jane’s two children. His brother, Cole, is a Mainland junior and is also a standout swimmer, winning the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly races on Wednesday.
A Linwood resident, Liam has not yet decided on college. He works as an Ocean City lifeguard in the summer.
In a telephone interview Wednesday night, Liam discussed several topics, including his career plans, which are related to the movie “Jaws.”
On being a lifeguard
I get to help people. I love to do that, help people and get people out of danger. I get to be on the beach, my favorite place. I get to compete for the patrol (in lifeguard competitions). I can’t think of a better job.
On being an older brother and having Cole as a teammate
I never really felt like I was (older). Cole was always the most outgoing. Sometimes he spoke for me. It’s great swimming with him. I grew up with him kind of as a rival. I was always trying to beat him, and he was always trying to beat me. But now we’re on the team together. We support each other. It’s special for me to have him on the team.
On what he likes about swimming
I like that it’s an individual sport as well as being a team sport. You have your own goals and your own time standards that you want to get, but you’re also contributing to the team getting points.
On being a part of Mainland’s swimming success
It’s an honor in a way. Being a freshman, sophomore and junior and contributing more each year … Now this year I’m a leader on the team. It’s a real honor.
On his career plans
I want to study marine biology. I’ve always had a fascination with that. Growing up my favorite movie was “Jaws” and my favorite character was Hooper, the marine biologist. I always wanted to be like him.