EAST WENATCHEE — Eastmont swimmer Evan VanderSluis has aspired to go to BYU since he was a kid. After committing to the Cougars swim team last month, he’ll get to realize that dream.
But there wasn’t always a belief that swimming would be the ticket to Provo, Utah — where the main campus is located.
“I used to swim as a little kid but I quit the sport sometime in middle school,” VanderSluis said in an email. “I told myself that I would come back for high school swimming though and I started training in the pool as a freshman. I didn’t really get to a high level until having some breakout swims my sophomore year.”
VanderSluis placed sixth at state in the 100-yard breaststroke his sophomore year. He then improved on his time by nearly three seconds at last year’s state meet, finished fourth and was named as an All America swimmer by the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association in July.
He said he’s always had an affinity for breaststroke, namely because of the technique required.
“For a lot of people the kick can be an awkward movement, but for me, it has always come naturally,” VanderSluis said. “I think that has helped me steer (more) towards breaststroke, but recently I have been picking up other strokes and developing my I.M. (individual-medley) as well.”
VanderSluis was able to stay with some family in Utah over the summer and joined a club so he could get some consistent pool time. But since moving back, he’s been fairly limited in what he can do to train for the upcoming season, currently set to begin Dec. 28.
“We were at the outdoor WRAC pool until mid-October, and now we’re in the Eastmont Aquatic Center. But we still haven’t had consistent pool time,” he said. “We only get around six hours a week compared to a normal schedule of 15-16 hours. I’ve tried to supplement by spending more time in the weight room but there is only so much I can do.”
But VanderSluis did say having his next four years already planned out does alleviate some pressure heading into this season, where his main goal is to podium in the 100-yard breast. Considering the three who finished ahead of him at last year’s state meet all graduated, VanderSluis should be viewed as a preseason favorite to earn a state title in the event.
“I think that uncertainty can cause some stress in others and I am grateful I don’t have to worry about it,” VanderSluis said. “I think I just need to trust my process. I’m the top returning swimmer from last year, so I know that if I just keep growing and getting stronger, I can accomplish my goals.”