The Malvern Prep senior has been the Friars’ most accomplished freestyle swimmer from sprints to distance the past two seasons, and was a quadruple winner in Malvern’s first two victories this winter. The All-Inter-Ac swimmer, known to his teammates as “Terminator,” was a member of two All American Relays last year (200 and 400 free relays).
Q: What is your favorite freestyle event, and why?
A: My favorite freestyle event is the 200 freestyle because it is not just an all out sprint. To succeed, you need to have a plan and pace yourself.
Q: What was your most memorable relay last winter – can you share your memory of it with us?
A: The 200 freestyle relay at Easterns was my favorite relay from last winter. Dan Waterland, Matt Magness, Louie Franzone and I were the members of the relay. We knew we had a shot at getting the All-American time and were really hyped up about going that fast. During the relay, we all tried our hardest and as a result, we not only made the All American time, but we also broke a school record.
Q: What (in your opinion) has been the best swim of this season to date? What was the key to your success in that event?
A: My best swim of the season so far was the 200 freestyle in the dual meet against Salesianum. The key to my success was my ability to execute my plan of taking the first 100 out controlled and then all out sprinting the second 100.
Q: Can you walk us through a typical day, or cycle, of training?
A: On a normal day, I wake up, go to school, come home and try to complete all my homework before practice starts. Then, I lift for 45 minutes and swim for two hours.
Q: What aspect of your swimming have you been working on the most recently?
A: Recently I have been working on my turns. In order to get faster in shorter events like the 50 and 100 freestyle, I need to work on getting my feet on the wall faster.
Q: Tell us a little about your nickname “Terminator” – when did it originate, can you tell us the story behind it?
A: The nickname came to be when I first started swimming. It was because I shared the name of the character from the Terminator movies, John Connor. Ironically John Connor is the one fighting the Terminator. Coach Pete [Lee], who coached me up until two years ago, said that I could be a nice guy outside the pool, but when racing I needed to transform into a beast.
Q: What pool did you first swim for? What is your favorite swimming venue, and why?
A: I first swam for the Malvern Swimming Association and have been swimming there for my entire life. My favorite pool for racing is the Franklin and Marshall College pool. To speed up the meet, the meet runs two pools simultaneously: the shallow pool and the deep pool during the preliminary session. At finals, during the night, only the deep pool is used. The blocks have fins on them which makes me go even faster! Also, if you make the “A” finals heat, you walk up to the blocks with your opponents while a song, selected by the top seed, plays. It really gets me psyched up!
Q: Who have been your biggest swimming mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you?
A: My three biggest swimming mentors have been Coach Pete Lee, Coach Bruce Bronsdon, and Coach Jay Schiller. Coach Pete taught me that hard work pays off and how to get hyped up before a race. Coach Bruce taught me how to control my pace and use my head when racing. Coach Jay taught me the importance of being on a team, and supporting my teammates even though swimming is mainly an individual sport.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-meet preparation the day of a meet.
A: After waking up, I take two inhalers because of my exercise-induced asthma. I usually eat a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich within two hours before racing. Throughout the day, I drink plenty of water. I’ll also take a Gatorade and some snacks to eat during the meet. I pay close attention to my food intake because I want to avoid feeling hungry during the race.
Q: What (to you) has been the highlight of your swimming career outside of Malvern Prep?
A: Swimming at the Junior Olympics meet for the first time when I was 14. Qualifying for this meet was one of my first goals in my swimming career. It was my first big championship meet.
Q: What would you like to major in at college?
A: At present, I am undecided regarding my major; however, I am definitely interested in history and psychology.
Q: Do you participate in any other extracurricular activities at Malvern Prep? What sparked your interest in these activities?
A: I am part of Cups for Caritas, an event that raises money through ceramics for the Bethesda Project to help the homeless. I took a Ceramics class my freshman year and it was through this class my interest sparked and I started volunteering for this event. Additionally, I am also part of the Malvern Prep Impressions Club. This club designs the school’s literary website. My 8th grade English teacher suggested that I pursue this activity and once I signed on, I have been interested ever since then.
Fun facts – John Connors
Favorite book: Eragon.
Favorite author: Dr. Seuss.
Favorite TV show: Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Favorite movie: Star Wars: The Last Jedi; The Cat in the Hat (live action movie).
Favorite pre-meet pump-up song: Invincible by Skillet.
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.
Favorite place to visit: St. Thomas.
Favorite pre-meet meal: Wawa Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sizzli.
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