Athlete of the Month: Will Stange, Boys Swimming

photo by Teo Fleming

For Will Stange ’14, training hard is nothing new after nearly 15 years in the water.

After learning to swim when he was two years old, Stange quickly grew to love the sport and soon chose it for his main activity. “I had too much energy as a child and my elementary school guidance counselor told my mom to try swimming to get my energy out,” he said. “I played Little League [baseball] for a while and that was okay, and I played soccer, too, when I was younger, but I dropped [both sports] for swimming.”

Soon after, at the age of six, he decided to join his first club swim team. “I started swimming for White Water [Swim Club] when it was a much larger team,” said Stange. “But when the head coach left on maternity leave, so did everyone else. So I moved to [the Princeton Piranhas Swim Club], where I’ve been for about eight years.”

Doing both club and high school swimming takes up a lot of time during the year, and Stange is constantly training with only a few weeks off here and there. “I swim all year round, short course [in the fall and winter] and long course [in the spring and summer]. Usually I have nine practices a week [because of doubles in the morning], which on average take about two hours each practice.”

While high school swimming is “a lot of fun,” he said, club is much more intense. “My favorite thing about club is that I like working hard [and] I like pushing myself,” he said.

As a swimmer, being versatile in all strokes is important, but Stange enjoys the 200-yard backstroke and 500-yard freestyle most. “My favorite and best event is the 200-back … [I have] a short course time of 1:49.3,” he said. “The 500-free is the perfect event because it’s the perfect distance where it’s still a sprint and you aren’t tired at the end of it, but if you do it right then you can be.”

So far, Stange has been to the Junior Olympics, Sectionals, and Junior Nationals, and he is now looking to swim in the Ivy League in college. One of his long-term goals is to go to the Olympic Trials. “I have two seconds to drop in my 200-back long course time to make it to the Olympic Trials,” he said. “I’m going to swim as fast as I can [in college] and see where I end up.”

Stange will be joining the Cornell swim team next fall.