Up-and-Comers: Irvine Novaquatics’ Will Chen a Dedicated Student of the Sport; Times Are Dropping

Will Chen

Up-and-Comers: Irvine Novaquatics’ Will Chen a Dedicated Student of the Sport

Will Chen of the Irvine Novaquatics is a tough competitor. The 15-year-old is a dedicated student of the sport, and it’s been paying off. Chen achieved his first Futures cut as the leadoff leg of his team’s 400 long course freestyle relay (53.60) at the club’s June Age Group Invitational. In addition to his cut, Chen placed first in the 100-200 meter free (53.89, 1:59.09) and 400 IM (4:46.29), second in the 400 free (4:15.32) and third in the 50 and 800 free (25.28, 9:00.70).

“Will is a competitor in the pool and does a great job of facing adversity,” says Chen’s high school and club coach, Alex Nieto. “Will is continuously trying to learn about how to get better in the water and be competitive. He sees (adversity) as a challenge and really applies the tips and advice given to him.”

Outside of competition, Chen works hard to hone his skills in and out of the pool. During his freshman year at Northwood High School, he decided to join the sports analytic club, where he looks for potential competitive advantages in swim data that he collects. He also recently enrolled himself in a spreadsheet training course at his local community college to develop his computer and gaming skills.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING YOU DO IN SWIMMING?

One thing that stands out that makes me the swimmer I am is the need to compete and step up my game against others. In practice, I try my best to accomplish the goals I set for myself while racing others. As one of my friends says, “The grind never stops,” and we take that to heart. We show up to practice and work our arms off to be better than the rest, and that, I think, is what I’m best at.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TOUGHEST WORKOUTS/SETS YOU’VE DONE?

There were many tough workouts we’ve done over the summer with long course practices. Some swimmers get chosen to take part in a “Monster Lane” led by my coach. He gives us long and hard sets that push our bodies to our limits. An example of a set we did was not too long ago, when we did 15 200s split into 5, 4, 3, 2, then 1. The interval would get harder every round, and it was great pushing our limits to achieve faster times.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT SWIMMING?

It’s definitely the people. Although we love joking around and goofing off, we make sure that during swim, everyone’s trying their best and no one’s slacking off. Especially in the war zone known as the Monster Lane, everyone’s morale is dying as our lats fall off, but everyone makes sure to boost each other to keep pushing another 1,000 fast.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR?

I’m looking forward to making bigger improvements in the water. Long course season has been pretty good so far, and now that I’m 15, I can’t wait to race the “big boys” and see if I can bring myself to the top, like when I was 14. It’ll be a blast competing and losing, but that’ll just make me want to train harder so I can win next time.

WHO IS SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN SWIMMING…AND WHY?

Some of the people I look up to are the older swimmers on the team. The “big boys” are incredibly fast and work very hard, and I hope I could be like them and become the top dogs of my swimming age group.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE HOBBIES?

Besides swimming (of course), I enjoy playing the viola and hanging out with friends. Although I love competing, I also like bonding and working together to achieve a common goal. That’s why playing instruments is so fun to me—since hearing all the musicians come together to create one beautiful masterpiece is really cool. Bonding with friends and fellow classmates is really fun, and I love doing it.

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