Walters said it was a matter of his father -- who'd just become a booster for the team -- volunteering him. It meant the Cass senior -- then a freshman -- had roughly two weeks to practice before he took to the water with the team.
He took to the water rather well, though, having just signed a scholarship to continue his swimming career at Darton College, a two-year school in Albany whose swim team competes at the national level. That scholarship emphasizes the success Walters has had at Cass, where this past season he became its first swimmer to qualify for state. He is also the county record-holder in the 50 freestyle.
Nicole Michalke, his coach, said Darton is getting an extremely hard worker in Walters. "He truly gives swimming his all. His heart is really in it.
"He was at every practice. During his junior and senior years, he pretty much swam year-round. He was, by far, the hardest worker at Cass in the four years I've been there."
That hard work also trimmed down his swimming times dramatically, Michalke said.
Walters said as a freshman he swam the 50-yard freestyle in 34 seconds, a far cry from his 23.05 seconds as a senior.
Although the 50-yard freestyle is his best event, Walters competes in the 200-yard medley relay, the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 100-yard breast stroke.
Walters said one of the reasons he is attending Darton is because of his interest in broadcast journalism. He said he will evaluate his situation in two years and decide if he will pursue swimming even further.
"It really just depends on how I feel at the time," he said.
Walters said he is looking to the two years to sort of "get set on the right path" in life.
The Cass senior said swimming requires a lot of hard work. "In the past two years, I've had maybe four months that I wasn't swimming. I've stayed in the pool a lot in that time."
That pool time included practice and competitions with the Cartersville Cobias as well as practice with the Carpet Capital Aquatic Club. Two of those Cobias relay teams made the GPRA State Finals last summer. He also finished seventh in the 50 freestyle.
Walters recalled his father Brad nudging him toward swimming with a smile.
"He asked what I thought about joining the school team," Shane Walters laughed. "I told him I'd have to think about it. He said, 'Well you are on the team and you won't have to think about it.'"
He said it all ended well, though. "I got volunteered. Surprisingly, now, it's taking me to college."
Walters said in his early years, he was drawn to the Cass swimming team because of its family environment. "Everyone knows one another by name, and we're all good friends."
In junior and senior years, he said, "I wanted to earn recognition for Cass High by qualifying for state.
"We've always been like a second-tier school in swimming. I was passionate about Cass. I wanted my team to be recognized by having a swimmer qualify for state."
He said he worked hard for the recognition, and it was a big moment when he qualified for state. "I had been so used to seeing a slower time, and when I looked up to see the 23.05, I was kind of shocked. The team ran over and we were jumping up and down. It was a good moment."