Newton swimmers relish state opportunity
Just three days before what is sure to be the biggest race of their lives, the Newton freestyle relay teams were surprisingly calm.
Gathered in a circle stretching before Wednesday’s practice, senior Luke Norcross and freshman Austin Bunker spotted their fellow relay swimmer and local celebrity Matheus Pinto strolling out to the pool.
It’s clear these guys see Pinto as the star of the show, especially when Norcross gave him a champion’s welcome by promptly and triumphantly announcing Pinto’s name as he approached his teammates.
Pinto will line up against the best freestyle swimmers in the state this Saturday in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events. His times in both events suggest Newton fans will be celebrating at least two podiums this weekend.
“I’m in really fast races, the 50 free and 100 free, and I have the third best time,” Pinto noted. “So, it’s going to be whoever feels better in the meet, whoever wants it more will take the state champion title. I’m not nervous right now, but I probably will be on Saturday. I have try to concentrate, think about my practices and just be as positive as possible and believe in myself.”
Pinto’s individual accomplishments cannot be overlooked, but swimming is a team sport that masquerades as an individual one.
Although Pinto has been the catalyst for much of the team’s success this season, the value of his relay partners should not go overlooked. They have put in the work as a team, supporting each other through early morning and late afternoon practices.
“We have put in a lot of hard work,” senior Ryan Jolivette said. “Two-a-days, three times a week, every week all season so this has been the hardest sport I have ever competed in. I’ve been doing this since I was eight and it this season has been a lot of hard work.”
“It’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of hard practices and a lot of early mornings,” said Bunker.
“Well everybody, during the season, worked hard every day,” Pinto added. “We had to wake up at 5 in the morning to come to practice, and now we finally accomplish our goal to qualify for state. We are going with everything we have to that meet. We are going to do our best.”
The 400 and 200-yard freestyle relay teams that will represent the Cardinals this weekend consist of a good mix of old and new. Jolivette and Norcross have been at Newton for four years, and both are ecstatic to finally make it to this point. It’s clear they both see this as a fantastic way to end their high school careers.
“The last four years, the whole goal of my swimming career has been to make it to state,” Norcross said with a grin. “So this whole experience has been awesome. Hopefully we will be able to duplicate what we did at districts.”
If you have any technical difficulties, either with your username and password or with the payment options, please contact us by e-mail at email@example.com