By LAUREN TENCZA, junior
In addition to our traditional, school sport athletes, Hawkeye is honoring two seniors, Steven Szemple and Eric Ng. Both have demonstrated outstanding performance in their sports outside of school, competing internationally in curling and swimming, respectively.
Following his father’s lead, Steven Szemple began curling in 2006. Nine years later, Steven and his three teammates from Minnesota became Junior National Curling Champions and came in fifth place at the World Championships in Estonia. These nine years comprised of individual, rigorous work on Steven’s part. Every year, from September to March, Steven practiced at least four times a week. The team’s hard work became evident in its steady improvement in its level of competition. In 2013, he and his team received the bronze medal; in 2014, the silver; and finally, in 2015, the gold. When asked how he mentally prepared to represent the United States in Estonia, Steven commented, “Every event prepares you for the next, but winning Junior Nationals and earning a spot in Men’s Nationals was a crucial aid. This gave us a standard of what we should expect because we got to see a lot of good competition before we went off to Estonia.” Steven’s goal is to eventually represent the United States at the Olympics, the culmination of all worldwide sporting competitions. When the time comes, be sure to cheer him on; good luck Steven!
We might have the next Michael Phelps in our midst: senior Eric Ng is competing in the 2016 Olympic Trials. After 13 years of swimming, Eric has worked nonstop to represent the United States at the highest level possible in swimming. Eric practices nine times a week, totaling to about twenty-four hours each week. He excels in long-distance freestyle events like the 1500m and 400m, accumulating many impressive accolades. For example, Eric finished eighth in the 2014 USA-S Winter Jr. Nationals and tenth in the 2014 USA-S LC Jr. Nationals. While at Nationals, Eric was able to meet some of the most revered swimmers, including Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Eric remarks, “Swimming has given me the opportunity to do things I normally wouldn’t be able to… and to go places and meet new people.” Over the summer, he will attend the National Open Water Select Camp, a program that only selects about twelve men and women each year. Eric is grateful for the impact swimming has made on his life, saying “Swimming helped me become more disciplined and get used to doing things I don’t want to in order to get better.” We wish him the best as he continues to swim for Columbia University in the coming fall
Featured image from lumaxa.com