PHOENIX, Arizona, August 28. WILLIAM Colbert is our next subject in the Swimming World College Recruit Rankings Profile series. Colbert is a four-star breaststroker who swims for Schroeder YMCA and the University School of Milwaukee.
Colbert, who keeps his profile in the Swimming World College Recruit Rankings powered by Take Your Marks updated on a regular basis, owns a time that clears the U.S. Olympic Trials cut (an integral part of the rankings system). Colbert has recorded a 1:03.03 in the 100-meter breaststroke.
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Where and when did you start swimming?
I started swimming at the Schroeder YMCA in Milwaukee, Wis., when I was 6 years old and I have been on the team since.
Who would you name as the most influential person and coach in your swimming career?
The co-head coaches of my team, Matt Miller and Dave Anderson, have been the most influential people in my swimming career. I started swimming with Matt when I was eight or nine and moved to Dave's group when I started high school.
I played a lot of other sports, but Matt and Dave always worked with my schedule and encouraged me to come. I remember one time when I was 10, Matt asked me whether I thought I would be a state champion in any of the five other sports I played — he suggested that I could be a high school state champion in swimming and perhaps more. I actually "quit" swimming during the summer before my 8th grade to concentrate on football and basketball. I never swam once that entire year. At the start of freshman year I changed my mind, got back in the water and started training with Schroeder's senior group coach, Dave Anderson. I won the 100-yard breaststroke at High School State when I was a sophomore.
For the past three years, I have been training with Dave and I have really gotten to know him well. He is able to keep the atmosphere around the pool deck light and fun even during the hard sets. Dave offers a steak to anyone on our team when they achieve a Senior National or an Olympic Trials cut –a nice reward for a fast swim. I am waiting for my steak from him after getting that cut this summer.
What, to this point, is your best moment in the sport and why?
My best moment in swimming occurred at the recent 2008 Summer Junior Nationals in Minnesota. My team sent six swimmers to the meet, and we could not have asked for a better meet. Each of us swam well and had at least one best time — and I placed second in the 100-meter breaststroke and qualified for the National Junior Team. We also placed in the top 8 in all three of our relays, which are always the most exciting races. The last race of the meet was the 400 Medley Relay. It was our goal all summer to win that relay, but given the competition we knew it would be tough. We not only won the relay, but we set the national age group record by almost four seconds. Two members of the team were seniors, Steve Cebertowicz and Victor Leclere, and winning that relay was a great way to end possibly the last meet with them as my teammates.
Walk us through a day of practice:
Monday practices, start at 3:30 so we get in and do our usual warm-up that totals 1000 yards. Then we usually do a kick-swim set with varying total yardage. Afterwards we break into three groups: aerobic, anaerobic and dry land. The aerobic and anaerobic stations focus on different things each week. At the aerobic station, we usually do a good amount of yards on relatively tight intervals– not my favorite station. The anaerobic station is usually comprised of fast 25s and fast 50s which are balanced with slow and perfect 25s and 50s and quite a few drills of all the strokes. One of my coaches, Adam Mania, knows tons of fun and creative drills that have really energized the team. At the dry land stations, there are many different activities that seem to work every conceivable part of the body.
What is your favorite set?
My favorite set is a dive set. Dave likes to push us out of our comfort zone as much as possible and it is fun to see how far I can go. It is sort of a get-out swim. We separate into groups of six or seven and are matched with people of similar speed no matter the stroke. We start on the blocks not knowing how far we are going to swim each round and it can be as short as a 25 or as long as a 500. The coach blows the whistle to start us and blows it again to stop. Whoever is leading on the stop whistle is released from practice. During the early rounds there is a little opportunity for strategy. My strategy is to go out as fast as possible and try to hang on. I always do the set breaststroke so I usually race butterfliers and backstrokers. I am usually first to the 50 and still in the mix after the 100, after that, it is plain luck. Even though, it is challenging it is a fun way to end practice.
What is your least favorite set?
My least favorite set is 6x200s main stroke on 5 minutes. I try to build up to the 5th and 6th one to have those be my best two. But usually, I'll begin to feel the pain midway through the third 200. All I can focus on after that is three things: holding my stroke, not letting it fall apart and of course finishing.
What are your short-term goals?
My short-term goals begin with finding the college that is right for me. I definitely want to swim in college, but I am also looking for a place where I will enjoy my college experience and be prepared for life after swimming. Of course, I will continue to work hard this year in the pool as well as out to position myself to contribute as much as I possibly can to my team here at Schroeder as well as next year in college.
What are your long-term goals?
In the future, I hope to qualify for the NCAA meet my freshman year and I hope to earn a spot on a medley relay at NCAAs. My ultimate goal is to qualify for an Olympic team and have a chance to represent America on the biggest stage
What colleges are you interested in so far?
I am still talking to a lot of colleges at this point. So far I have set up two visits and am still deciding on where I want to take my other visits.
How is the recruiting process going?
It is exciting to talk with college coaches and I look forward to official visits in the next few months.
Is there anything else that you'd like our readers to know about you?
I owe all of my success in my swimming career to my parents. They put me in swim lessons as early as possible. Once I was old enough to actually know what I was doing, I immediately wanted to stop swimming. Every day before practice I would make up some injury or illness that I had in an attempt to skip practice. Fortunately, my Mom was able to see through all of my excuses and continued to make me go to swim practice. Eventually, I stopped making excuses and now I willingly go to swim practices.