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  • Girls Track and Field meet at University of Dubuque on Mar. 23

  • Girls Track and Field meet on Mar. 26

  • Boys soccer game at Mount Mercy University on Mar. 28

Swimming into a different state

Although James Pinter ‘20 may be new to the West High swim team, he is certainly no stranger to the sport.

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Swimming into a different state

James Pinter '20 competes in the 200 yard freestyle race on Saturday, Dec. 16. Pinter placed third in his heat with a time of 1:46.46.

James Pinter '20 competes in the 200 yard freestyle race on Saturday, Dec. 16. Pinter placed third in his heat with a time of 1:46.46.

Kara Wagenknecht

James Pinter '20 competes in the 200 yard freestyle race on Saturday, Dec. 16. Pinter placed third in his heat with a time of 1:46.46.

Kara Wagenknecht

Kara Wagenknecht

James Pinter '20 competes in the 200 yard freestyle race on Saturday, Dec. 16. Pinter placed third in his heat with a time of 1:46.46.

James Pinter ’20 has been in pools since he was seven years old. This may be due to his family having no shortage of swimmers with his mom, Sheila Pinter, who was a national champion, and his three siblings who also swim competitively. Along with beginning at an early age, Pinter plans on continuing through college.

Pinter spent his first two years of high school in La Crosse, Wisconsin. There, he attended Sparta High School, which was in a rural area and did not offer a high school swim team. Because of this, Pinter participated in YMCA swimming in Wisconsin and is now getting his first experience swimming for a high school. The transition from community to high school swimming was smoother than expected.

Upon moving to Iowa, Pinter joined the swim club Iowa City Eels (ICE) as well as the West team. While club swimming is advantageous since it continues the entire year and focuses more on individual goals, Pinter enjoys the team atmosphere that being part of a high school sport entails.

In club swimming, [the experience] is a lot more individualized, but with the high school team it’s like you’re really part of a team.”

— James Pinter '20

“In club swimming, [the experience] is a lot more individualized, but with the high school team it’s like you’re really part of a team,” said Pinter. “I really, really like that because there’s a lot more togetherness and you feel like you’re swimming for a bigger purpose rather than yourself.”

As an athlete whose entire family has taken part in swimming, finding a place within the community was not difficult for Pinter.

“The help of my mom kind of pushing me in the right direction for swimming gave me more of a motivation to do it,” Pinter said.

And according to Pinter, his motivation to become a better swimmer can be found in teammates and family members.

For me personally, [my motivation is] just making my mom proud and my teammates. I just love racing with them and  winning with them.”

— James Pinter '20

Pinter said, “For me personally, [my motivation is] just making my mom proud and my teammates. I just love racing with them and winning with them.”

While physical aspects of the sport such as exhaustion, muscle soreness and the possibility of injury can take a toll, Pinter believes that being a part of a team gives him incentive to become a better swimmer.

“So you kind of have to swim for [your teammates] too because they’re expecting you to do just as well as you expect yourself to do, but even better sometimes,” said Pinter.

Because of the team aspect that accompanies competitive swimming, it was easier for Pinter to find a place within the team upon moving than it was for him to find a place within the school.

“I feel like in school you’re not really like a team so there’s not a very big reason to accept other people. But then when you’re on a team it’s like everybody has to accept everybody because you’re all going for that one goal,” said Pinter.

Pinter’s teammate Danny Bodin ‘20 agrees that he has fit into the team well partly due to his engagement at practices.

James has fit into the team really well.”

— Danny Bodin '20

“James has fit into the team really well, he’s really fast and is always at practice which is really important. It’s really hard to be a part of a team when you don’t show up to practice,” said Bodin.

The West swim team holds two major goals which have served as an incentive this season: winning State and going undefeated in regular season.

“One of our goals as a team is to go undefeated in dual meets. This goal really involves the whole team because just the fast guys can’t win a meet,” said Bodin.

In school you’re not really like a team so there’s not a very big reason to accept other people. But then when you’re on a team it’s like everybody has to accept everybody because you’re all going for that one goal.”

— James Pinter '20

Pinter is not only working towards those team goals, but also for a few individual goals as well. This process is difficult in terms of balancing activities throughout the day and in the physical aspects it entails.

“It’s a lot of late nights, a lot of multitasking because when you’re swimming [around] 16 hours a week. When you’re in the water for that many hours sometimes homework gets put on the back burner.” Pinter said. “I try to limit how many naps I take and how much time I spend eating meals and I just do homework.” 

While there’s a lot of work to be put in outside of practice, Pinter has also upped his hours in the water. In Wisconsin, he attended about four practices a week and now goes to eight per week which totals up to about 16 hours of swimming a week.

“The hardest part is just how tiring it is and then how many hours you have to put in to be good. Because you can’t go to two practices a week and expect to be a state champion. You really have to put in the actual hours and everything else to be successful at swimming,” said Pinter.

Pinter and his teammates are anticipating a better season than last year’s in which they can build off the success of the West girls’ swim season.

“Expect a lot this year because the guys and Byron are trying to build off the girls season and the girls’ success,” said Pinter.

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About the Writer
Carmela Cohen Suarez, Reporter

Carmela Cohen Suarez is a junior and this is her second year on staff. She is a reporter for the online publication and is looking forward to a year filled...

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Swimming into a different state