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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021 4 weeks ago

Athlete of the Week: Nick Tsai

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The Olympia senior won a conference championship in the 100-yard breaststroke at the Metro West Conference championships on Oct. 8.
by: Chris Martucci Sports Editor

Nick Tsai is a senior at Olympia High School and swims for the Titans as a breaststroker. On Oct. 8, Tsai won the 100-yard breaststroke at the Metro West Conference championships in a time of 1:03.98 — his first season-best time in two years — to give him the conference title in the event. In addition to swimming for the Titans, Tsai also swims for Windermere Laker Aquatics.

Have you always been a breaststroker? 

Yes, ever since I started swimming. 

When did you start swimming? 

I started swimming near the end of age 12. I swam for Y of Central Florida at Rosen in the beginning. Swimming was a hobby at first, and it was something that grew upon me and I’m still doing it to this day. 

When did you become more serious about swimming? 

It was after my first YMCA state meet, when I was 14. I placed top three in the 50-meter breaststroke. That was when I started to really enjoy the sport and commit to it full-time. 

How did the breaststroke choose you? 

When I swim, I’m more of a power guy, not a speed guy. In breaststroke, you don’t need to rely on your stroke rate. My stroke isn’t the best, but my pullouts make up for it. 

How does it feel winning a conference championship? 

Going into the meet and looking at the seed times, I already knew I was going to win. I hadn’t set a personal record in two years since my sophomore year, and I’ve been working toward that. COVID really set me back, so to get it was great. 

Favorite swimmer? 

Florent Manaudou from France. I swim similarly to him when he swims other strokes. 

What are some of your hobbies outside of swimming? 

Talking with my friends, playing video games. We play first-person shooters, and that’s about it. 

What’s your favorite video game? 

Osu, it’s a rhythm game. There’s a song that plays, and you have this pen or mouse as a cursor. You have to move it to the circles and click to the beat. 

Favorite TV/Netflix show? 

“Sweet Home” — a Korean drama.

Favorite thing about the fall? 

The colder weather. 

Favorite Halloween candy? 

Skittles. 

What’s an interesting thing about you that no one would expect to know? 

I like wearing jewelry, but I never wear it outside. 

Describe the best race you have ever swam.

It was a qualifier for state last year. I was seeded second in the 100 breaststroke, and I knew I couldn’t mess up on my pullouts or breakouts. Before this race, I didn’t know how to attack the breaststroke. My Windermere Lakers coach told me to think of a lion chasing me, because my stroke didn’t have a drive to it. That was what got me to break the 1:03 barrier after so long. 

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Chris Martucci is the sports editor for the West Orange Times & Observer,  Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. He holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism, as well as a bachelor's degree in...

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