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Just keep swimming

Alexia Lara, Student Life Editor

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Pleasant Valley has had a number of athletic commitments within the last couple of years, six of them being from the class of 2018. However, after this past week, that number has risen to seven. Nick Kontos was added to the bunch October 2nd, after announcing his commitment to Western Illinois for swimming.

Last year, Kontos was captain of the Pleasant Valley swim team and swam a 49.25 100 meter freestyle and a 2:19.28 200 meter breastroke. This year, he’s swam a 54.06 100 meter butterfly and a 54.20 meter 100 backstroke.

“It was always my dream to swim at the college level, and recently I made it my goal to swim at the Division 1 level.”

Part of Kontos’ drive came from former Pleasant Valley swimmer Nick Staver. Staver was recruited by the University of Missouri in 2015, greatly influencing Kontos’s decision of wanting to swim at the college level.

Kontos came into contact with Western Illinois through his friend Brennan Bladel, who is currently a member of the Leatherneck swim team. Bladel informed the coaches about Kontos, who then set up a time to meet with him and watch him swim at practice.

For Kontos, the recruiting process was not easy. He found a lot of stress in trying to decide which college was right for him.

“It was very stressful having to talk to all these coaches and then decide based off of just talking to them on the phone and one visit.”

Initially, the University of Chicago was the school he was leaning towards, but after his visit to WIU, that quickly changed. Overall, Kontos described his visit to Western as a positive experience, and the team atmosphere was just what he was looking for.

The head coach for the Leathernecks is Greg Naumann, and Kontos loved his approachability and that he believed in all of his swimmers. He knew he wanted to be a part of the team after seeing Naumann’s down to earth personality and treatment of his swimmers as if they were family.

“I feel at ease, I’m not stressed out now about still making a decision. I’m really happy that I’m not that far away from home, but also I’m not that close. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of feeling,” describes Kontos over the commitment.

Kontos is thankful to have such supportive parents and a dependable strength coach. Kontos’s father spent two years at Western Illinois before transferring to Northwestern and although his time at Western was short lived, his father loved it. Pleasant Valley Strength and Conditioning coach Ryan Arnold has helped Kontos throughout this process by providing tips and helping him progress in the weightroom.

“Nick deserves this. He has the grades along with great work ethic. Everyone has their ups and downs because it is a new level of intensity in college but his effort is all there and he will do well,” explained Arnold.

Kontos plans on majoring in biology and minoring in music. He would like to follow in his parents footsteps and pursue a job in the medical field. He hopes to become a dermatologist or thoracic and vascular surgeon.

“Always listen to your coaches and parents and don’t be afraid to email a coach first. Try setting up a time to meet with them and focus on what you want to major in,” is the advice that Kontos has for those looking to play a collegiate sport.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Just keep swimming”

  1. Benjamin Leathers on October 26th, 2017 8:41 am

    Great to hear Nick and his comitment, with impressive records and swim times. Well typed article, Well done spacing, and great job on making it interesting!

    [Reply]

  2. cody parkhurst on October 26th, 2017 8:42 am

    Congrats to you connor for being commited to swimming enough to already have a colledge set up and your life planned out. its hard for some people to understand how diffrent life will be outside of highschool and for you to have that ready puts you way ahead of the game.

    [Reply]

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Just keep swimming