”When I swim in the ocean I feel peace of mind, I am happy but, in the pool, I feel less at peace because in the pool it is a competition to be won” These are the exact word of Shuta Nishimura, an international student at Herkimer Community College. Nishimura is a 21-year-old art student with a drive to be a faster swimmer. Born in Japan, he started swimming at the age of four. He stopped swimming at the age of six and started playing baseball, but started swimming again after the motivation of his parents who paid for his swimming lessons.
Herkimer kicked off the second half of his season with a trip to Jamestown for a Region III invite. During this meet, new swimming records were set by Nishimura. He broke two varsity records in the 50 and 200-yard breaststroke, winning the regional championship.
”Training for the sport of swimming takes a lot of time, good health, and a positive attitude and to be successful in swimming you must love the sport and devote your time to it. If you practice well, you will always be successful” explains Nishimura. He knows very well the sacrifices that must be made to succeed. According to him, “Gym is important in my swimming routine, but I rely more on practice than on gym. I train two hours a day from Monday to Friday to achieve my goal of being faster and better.’’
Even though Nishimura trains hard to surpass himself in this sport he loves, he encounters challenges when he swims. ”I hate it when the pool water is cold but I try to prepare myself mentally,” Nishimura explains, ”In the water when I swim, I aim at my brain, I forget everything around me as if I was alone in the world, I think of nothing and my mind is empty.” For Nishimura his success in not only because of his practice and the support of his family, but also the support of his teammates and coach Nick Lanckton.
Jasmine Martin is one of Nishimura’s teammates and a good friend. She is in education major here in Herkimer and has been swimming for years. She considers Nishimura and the other teammates like her family and has only kind words during our discussion about Nishimura. ” Shuta is unique and a great swimmer,” she explains, “He deserves his first place. He shows up to practice and is a great person.” She also explains that all their success and improvement is thanks to their amazing coach Nick Lanckton. “He is my favorite coach. He helps Shuta and all our teammates to achieve our different success and helps with our techniques and our everyday problems so we can focus on swimming.’’
Even if the coach helps them, he believes the students must make their own efforts to facilitate their success in swimming. He has expectations from his students and encourages them to be passionate, competitive, put the arduous work and have the desire to improve to be a great swimmer. He wants them not to neglect their studies and keep a GPA of 2.0 to be able to swim.
Lanckton saw all these qualities in Nishimura. According to him,” He (Nishimura) is an extremely hard worker and came with a lot of ability to swim. The first time I saw him swim, I saw the potential. He knew what strategies to use and believe in himself. He is graduating but I wish I had him for another year.”
Nishimura is not only an excellent swimmer but also a truly kind person who thanks to the support of his family and friends was able to excel in a sport he loves passionately. After graduating, he will transfer to the University at Buffalo where he will study art.