Joshua Zuchowski, a 2022 graduate of the King’s Academy, has made a successful transition from being a standout student-athlete at TKA to being one of many high-profile freshman swimmers at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. The freshman-year experience for Zuchowski could not have been more positive.
“From the moment I stepped on campus last year, I felt a strong support system from my new teammates on the swim team,” Zuchowski said.
According to Stanford head swimming coach Dan Schemmel, Zuchowski made a great transition to life at Stanford, both academically and athletically.
“The freshman year can present challenges for everyone, and Josh navigated his new landscape admirably,” Schemmel said. “He came in prepared, knowing everything around him would be different, and that it wouldn’t be a perfect transition. His belief in himself and his teammates helped him excel and have a very strong freshman year in the classroom and in the pool.”
When Zuchowski arrived on campus last September, he had two major goals in mind: to have a brilliant college career as a swimmer and to do well in his work toward his college degree. He is on course to achieve both objectives. He is leaning toward economics as his major.
According to Zuchowski, he earned mostly A grades and one B-plus in the classroom. Meanwhile, he is going faster in the swimming pool, as his fastest time in the 100-yard backstroke is now 46.41. His fastest time in the 200-yard backstroke has dropped to 1:40.47, and his fastest time in the 200-yard individual medley has been lowered to 1:43.86.
Schemmel is pleased with Zuchowski’s performance as a Cardinal swimmer.
“Josh thrived during the competition portion of the season,” Schemmel said. “We have one of the toughest dual meet schedules in the country, and he improved each meet, with his best swims happening at the Pac-12 Championships. He saw strong improvement in both the 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard backstroke, with the 200-yard backstroke being the event that got him qualified for the NCAA Championships.”
Getting to the NCAA Championships was one of Zuchowksi’s season-long goals.
“Not many freshman swimmers make it to the championships, so I’m glad that I did,” he said.
One of the reasons Zuchowski swam so well is that he had strong competition in practice every day.
“Getting a chance to train with swimmers better than me motivated me to work harder in practice,” Zuchowski said.
His best meet during his freshman year was the Pac-12 Championships, which was held in Federal Way, Washington, outside Seattle.
“I had seven swims [in different events] at the Pac-12s, and each time was always faster,” Zuchowski said.
He has already started working on improving those times. He has been home since mid-June and has been training with his father’s swim team, which trains on TKA’s campus. He is focused on continuing to drop those times with his intense training this summer. His immediate focus is to get ready for a major swim meet in Ocala from July 26-29, where he will swim four events: the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly, and the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke.
In addition to maintaining strong grades in the classroom and continuing to be a bigger part of the Stanford swim team, Zuchowski has his eyes set on strong performances at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, which will be held in Indianapolis next June. He has already qualified for the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials in the 100-yard backstroke, where he has the 10th-fastest time in the event nationwide, and the 35th fastest time in the world.
Zuchowski does expect to qualify in other events, where the top two swimmers in each individual event at the trials will earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
After making a smooth transition from being a high school student-athlete to an NCAA Division I student-athlete, Zuchowski is interested in making a smooth transition from NCAA Division I student-athlete to being a member of the U.S. Olympic Swim Team.
“That has always been the goal,” he said. “It would be phenomenal.”