A dive into the pool, and Conner Jager’s training session begins. That’s the way it was during his high school years at Neuqua Valley, and two months after graduation, it’s still that way.
“I found that when I knew I had to get things done I was able to work a lot better than when I had swimming to keep me organized,” Jager said.
And that method worked quite well, not just in the Neuqua pool but in the school’s classrooms too. The 2011 valedictorian is headed to Princeton University in the fall and will compete for the Tiger swim team. He says he’s not totally sure what to expect when he steps foot on campus at the prestigious ivy league school in September, but he knows it will test him in ways previous academic and athletic tests haven’t.
“It’s going to challenge me academically,” said Jager. “And [challenge me in] swimming and I’ll just try to compete in the classroom and compete with my teammates and other schools. I think that I’m really going to be looking forward to getting pushed at another level.”
Jager holds records in the 500 freestyle at Neuqua and 200 and 400 Individual Medley records with the Fox Valley Swim Team, so he’s no stranger to success in the pool. His Fox Valley coach, Dave Krotiak, says his pupil has come a long way in the past five seasons, but he thinks Jager still hasn’t put up his best time.
“He’s got a vision for himself,” said Krotiak. “Swimming wise, I’ve never seen him swim tougher, train harder, and be more focused towards going into a university and not letting anybody down. He absolutely hates the idea of that he would fail on anybody.”
That’s why Jager is putting the time in now, nearly 20 hours each week, to excel when he joins the three-time reigning Ivy League Champion Tigers, and because it’s worked for him before, in the water and in the classroom.
“I’m never satisfied with where I’m at with swimming and knowing all the hard work that I’ve put in will pay out at the end of the season,” said Jager. “It just keeps me coming to practice and keeps me wanting to get to that next level.”
And judging by his previous exploits, the smart money is on Jager getting to that next level and succeeding.
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