This weekend, Andover Varsity swimmers Jack Warden ’19, Arnold Su ’20, and Vlasic competed in the 2017 Speedo Winter Junior Championships-East and -West in Knoxville, Tenn. and Iowa City, Iowa, respectively.
Junior National meets are hosted twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter. Swimmers compete against other qualifying 18-and-under athletes from the United States. The meet is often used to select members of the USA Junior National team as well as qualify swimmers for international competitions.
Su said, “I felt really honored to be a part of this swim meet and to represent my club team at a national event. It was quite an experience, and it feels great to be a part of it.”
As part of a seasonal high school swim team, Warden, Su, and Vlasic take advantage of the summer training season by swimming twice a day.
“I swim, on average, ten to 11 times a week — mornings and nights every day of the week, plus Saturdays — along with three gym sessions… I balance my workload by trying to get ahead of work during the day, so I can continue to train to my fullest potential,” said Vlasic.
Warden attended the East meet in Knoxville, Tenn., representing his club team, Phoenix Swimming. He competed in the 100-Yard Backstroke and finished with a personal-best time of 51.41 seconds. In doing so, he beat this season’s Nepsac leading time of 55.01 seconds.
According to Warden, he has aspired to participate in Junior Nationals since he was ten. He was inspired by an older member of his club team who attended the competition.
“I started… swimming when I was four and joined a YMCA swim team when I was six. When I was ten years old, there was a kid on my club team that made Junior Nationals, and I looked up to him. I thought that someday I wanted to get there… It was a surreal experience to compete with the fastest 18-and-under swimmers in the whole country, including some future Olympians,” said Warden.
Vlasic swam a personal best of 50.80 seconds in the 100-Yard Butterfly, just six tenths of a second behind the winning time at the Nepsac championships last year. Vlasic also swam the 200-Yard Butterfly in a personal-best time of 1:53.43 minutes.
Vlasic said, “Not only is this meet a great place to swim personal-best times and do really well in your own events, but it is also a good opportunity to experience and see other national-level swimmers. Watching them swim and studying their techniques not only for swimming, but for warming up truly was the most interesting part of the meet.”
Representing Irvine Novaquatics, Su competed at the West meet in Iowa City, Iowa, and swam a 46.01 second split in the 4×100-Yard Freestyle Relay as well as 21.41 seconds in the 50-Yard Freestyle and 57.97 seconds in his 100-Yard Breaststroke. The fastest times in the Nepsac league this season — both of which Su holds — are 21.59 seconds and 59.97 seconds, respectively.
Su said, “My favorite thing about swimming is… the people. Swimming has introduced me to so many people I wouldn’t have known without it. Whether it’s on a team, at a meet, camp, etc., I have the opportunity to meet so many great people.”
Nick Isenhower ’18, Captain of Andover Boys Swimming & Diving, said, “I’m proud of how they are able to motivate and push the entire team. A lot of the team aspect of swimming has to do with how we stand by each other and enable each other to go hard in practice so that we’ve got what we need to swim fast in meets… They’re some of the first people we can look to during a hard set when we need some motivation or simply someone to race.”