When it comes to swimming fast, Josh Prenot is without peer in the local pool—or most anywhere else, for that matter.
At the National Club Swimming Association’s Junior Nationals, held March 17 to 21 in Orlando, Prenot finished 11th in the 1,500-meter freestyle, making him one of the nation’s best swimmers in the event for his age. Competing against several hundred swimmers from all over the country in some events, Prenot also finished 26th in the 500-meter freestyle and 28th in the 200-meter butterfly.
He’s been swimming in team events since the age of 6 and joined the Santa Maria Swim Club in 2003. Despite his individual achievements, as the club’s star he isn’t letting the success get to his head.
“I try to bring a positive attitude and encourage my teammates, and pretty much everyone on our team does the same thing,” Prenot said.
The 15-year-old said his best event is the 400-meter individual medley—an event combining 100 meters of each major stroke—but his favorite is the 50-meter freestyle sprint.
When he’s not in the water, he attends Family Partnership Charter School and takes classes at Allan Hancock College.
“That’s one of the things that’s really helped me improve,” Prenot said. “I have a flexible schedule to go on travel trips. I can just take school along.”
According to Santa Maria Swim Club coach Mike Ashmore, the team has 114 participants aged 5 to 20 years old and provides the opportunity for any young swimmer to pursue their Olympic dreams. He said Prenot is dedicated to following his goal of making it to the 2012 Olympics and sets an example for the other swimmers in the club.
“It always raises the bar when you have somebody that’s doing really well, and it kind of gives everybody else something to shoot for,” Ashmore said.
Prenot said he’s aiming for finishing among the top 16 in the country at the Olympic Team Trials in 2012. He practices six days a week in the pool at the Paul Nelson Aquatic Center and is focused on improving his backstroke times over the summer.