After a long winter season, most athletes relax for a little bit before starting a spring sport or resuming the same sport, Matt Traub is not most athletes.
After much research, Traub headed down to Clearwater, Fla., to participate in the NASA Junior National Championship Cup with some of the best 18-under swimmers in the nation.
“I’ve been looking for a meet to do, trying to do more events (200 IM and 100 fly) for colleges to look at,” Traub said. “My dad (Jerry) did a lot of work, like a lot of work, to find a meet.”
To get into the meet Traub had to submit his times and qualify for the events. He qualified for five events, the 50-yard backstroke, 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke, 50 free and the 200 IM and because he qualified for three or more events, he is able to swim in bonus events, the 100 free, 200 free and 100 fly.
“I have eight events all week until Saturday,” Traub said. “It’s nonstop swim, sleep, eat.”
Traub got started early, getting to his hotel at 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning and got into the pool a few hours later.
“I had the prelims this morning and made the finals for the 200 IM and 50 backstroke,” said Traub, who swam a 1:55 in the 200 IM, which he said he could have done better. “I was on two hours of sleep, so a 1:55 isn’t that bad.”
In the finals Traub finished in 16th place in the 200 IM, with a time of 1:55.28, and he came in 20th in the 50 backstroke with a :25.10.
“The :25.10 is pretty poor, but after I finished the 200 IM I had to run over and swim in the 50 back,” he said.
Not finishing in first place is something that Traub isn’t accustomed to.
“I didn’t lose a race all season, until the State Open,” he said. “Ever since then I haven’t won a race, it’s good because people are pushing me.”
One of the people Traub is swimming against is swimming sensation Michael Andrews.
Andrews is a 14-year old swimmer, who became the youngest swimmer to ever turn pro last year according to swimswam.com.
“He’s pretty famous in the swimming world, he has like 50 national records,” Traub said. “He beat me by 10 seconds in the 200 IM, he’s like 6’5” and has size 15 feet.”
Swimming against Andrews has motivated Traub, who is 17 years-old.
“It’s insane, to swim against him, see him swim and to learn from him,” he said.
With two races down, Traub has six more to compete in before the meet ends on Saturday.
“I am really looking forward to the 200 backstroke, we don’t have the 200 backstroke in high school, I am really looking forward to it,” Traub said.
With all the events, Traub still does find time to rest.
“I sleep after the prelims and then off to the finals,” he laughed.