Editor’s note: Last in a series looking at City High freshmen to watch.
By Julianne Berry-Stoelzle, City High senior
IOWA CITY — Jumping into the cold water before he is fully awake is a common occurrence for City High freshman Joe Polyak.
Swimming laps early in the morning, getting out and going to school. That’s the life of a high school swimmer.
“(I like that) it’s only you, that matters (in swimming),” Polyak said. “There’s no one else that can affect your outcome.”
Polyak started swimming competitively at the Gators Swim Club in Florida at the age of 7 before moving to Iowa and becoming a member of the Iowa Flyers Swim Club. He goes to Regina, but swims for City High because Regina does not have a boys’ swim team.
“I like coming here and meeting new people,” Polyak said. “Swimming with different people, that’s the fun part. Right now, I’m starting to get used to what the atmosphere is like here.
“It’s all new and different.”
His goals for the future include placing top three at state, getting a full ride to a Division I college and placing in the Top 10 at the Olympic Trials.
He plans to get there by working hard every single day.
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“I just say, I’m gonna give it my best and if it’s not enough, so what?” Polyak said. “(I look forward to) getting some records and beating some people.”
Polyak is ranked 209th nationally in the 200-yard freestyle for the 13-14 age group, according to swimrank.com.
“You tell him something and he’ll do it,” IFLY Coach Chris Freeman said. “He’s really good at learning from what we’ve done or taking away from other things as well. He’s probably like the easiest kid to coach and super nice as well.”
Polyak feels he has learned a lot of life lessons from swimming, including time management and how to have a good work ethic.
“He’s just one of those kids (that) just puts his head down, gets to work and doesn’t really complain,” Freeman said. “He’s a hard worker and always has a good attitude about it.
“I’m just excited to see where he ends up.”
Polyak ranks first on the Little Hawks’ team in the 200 (1:50.41) and 500 (4:55.15) freestyle and ranks second in the 100 butterfly (55.40) and 200 individual medley (2:01.85). He ranks 10th in the state in the 500 free.