Mt. Hebron 2015 alum Jake Lamparella recently joined the ranks of the swimming elite. Lamparella is one of the 756 individuals selected to compete in the Olympic Trials, an event in which the best athletes from around the country vie for a chance to represent the United States at the Olympic Games.
On July 29, Lamparella competed in the 100-meter backstroke event at the NCSA Summer Championships in Indianapolis, clocking in at 57.46 seconds in the initial round and 56.92 seconds later on in the day. The cut off time to qualify for the Olympic Trials is 57.19, meaning Lamparella beat the cut off by a considerable .27 seconds.
Lamparella’s Coach, Scott Ward, said that as soon as Jake hit the wall, he realized what he had just done. “He took off his goggles, looked at his time, and started looking for me,” Ward said.
Contrary to what many may think, Lamparella stated that he was not always this successful at swimming. He noted that he started swimming at the age of ten because his mom was a swimmer and encouraged him to try it, but Jake hit a rough patch throughout seventh and eighth grade during which he did not make many significant improvements. However, he persevered, and eventually started improving again.
At the start of Lamparella’s junior year, he transferred from HoCo Aquatics to Eagle Swim Team, where he almost immediately started dropping large amounts of time in many of his events. Meanwhile, Lamparella was also racing elsewhere as a member of Mt. Hebron’s Aquatics Club during his sophomore, junior and senior years of high school, and as a member of the Taylor Village Tigerfish, his community swim team, for seven years.
Lamparella stated that the quality of his performance can be attributed to the quantity of the extra training he did on his own time to ensure his success. “I did three morning [swim] practices a week instead of one,” he said.
Lamparella also took weight training classes with Coach Todd DeCrispino for the three years. “[Jake] was always a good worker and a great student, but this last year he really worked hard,” Mr. DeCrispino said about Lamparella’s growth as an athlete.
Lamparella credits Mr. DeCrispino as being his most motivational teacher as far as encouraging him and keeping up with how he was doing in swimming as well as in school.
Lamparella had another strong source of support — his friends. “My friends at school helped me feel like I was still a part of Mt. Hebron sports even though there isn’t a swim team, so I wasn’t technically,” he said.
Without all of this support and encouragement, Lamparella believes that he might not have gotten as far as he has. Lamparella’s goal for 2016 is to compete at the semi-finals at the Olympic Trials. If he achieves his goal, he will then be racing again in the evening of the same day.
The Olympic hopeful will continue his training this fall at University of Wisconsin-
Madison, a D1 swimming school. He believes that the 100-meter freestyle and 200-meter backstroke are both events he could qualify for with the proper training.
As for Coaches Ward and DeCrispino, they both plan to watch Lamparella compete at the Olympic Trials on NBC next summer. The Men’s 100 backstroke will occur on June 27, 2016.