Joshua Zuchowski, a 2022 graduate of the King’s Academy who’s headed to Stanford University on a swimming scholarship, continues to set records in the pool.
On Wednesday, Aug. 3, while competing in the 2022 Speedo Junior Championships at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine, California, Zuchowski set a new U.S. junior record in the 200-meter backstroke. His time in the final was 1:58.42, which broke the previous U.S. junior record time of 1:58.49 set by Ian Grum in 2019.
Zuchowski, who now swims for the Palm Beach County-based Flood Aquatics Swim Team, said that he was pleased with his time in the 200 backstroke, but added that there is room for improvement.
“I had a great morning swim with little effort and went 1:59.81. My finals race was not the cleanest, but my prior personal best in the 200-meter backstroke was indoors, and it’s much harder racing outside,” Zuchowski said. “I was far away from the wall in two of the three turns. I was a little sluggish in the last 25 meters. I will take it.”
The world junior record time in the 200-meter backstroke is 1:55.14, which was set in 2017 by Russian Kliment Kolesnikov.
At the meet, Zuchowski also swam in the 200-meter butterfly, 100-meter backstroke and the 200-meter individual medley.
In the 200-meter butterfly, Zuchowski finished in seventh place with a time of 1:59.84. In the 100-meter backstroke, he recorded a third-place finish with a personal-best time of 55:18.
“My 100-meter backstroke race was fine,” Zuchowski said. “I went out fast, and I felt great. I was just beaten by two faster swimmers.”
In the 200-meter IM, Zuchowski had the fastest time in the preliminaries, with a time of 2:02.55. In the finals, he went even faster, recording a personal best time of 2:01.92, but he finished in third place. The winning time was 2:01.40 by Will Modglin from Indiana.
For Zuchowski, who was leading the 200-meter IM at the halfway mark, the entire race was too close to call until Modglin touched the wall first.
“It was close the whole race,” he said. “I am very happy. I go into every race thinking I have a chance to win. During the race, I don’t think. I race.”
After the California meet, Zuchowski’s next big competition will be in Hawaii, where he will swim for Team USA at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships from Aug. 24 to Aug. 27. At that meet, he will swim the 200-meter individual medley, 200-meter backstroke, 100-meter backstroke and another event that has yet to be decided.
As he gets ready for Hawaii, he will continue to train and also work on small details.
“I will focus on starts and turns underwaters,” Zuchowski said.
While at TKA, Zuchowski was the most decorated athlete in school history. He won eight Florida state championship swimming titles while enrolled at the school. In all, he was a four-time state champion in the 100-yard backstroke and a three-time state champion in the 200-yard individual medley. He was also a member of the school’s 200-yard medley relay team, which won a state title in 2019, when Zuchowski was a sophomore.