Prep Sports

Xavier runner Jack Renning takes a dip in swimming pool

HS journalism: Senior is trying swimming for the first time

Cedar Rapids Xavier's Jack Renning, a four-time state qualifier in cross country, is trying swimming for the first time
Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Jack Renning, a four-time state qualifier in cross country, is trying swimming for the first time in his high school career. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A new season and a new sport comes with new opportunities.

Cedar Rapids Xavier senior Jack Renning has decided to try something he has never competitively done before — swim.

“I decided to swim because it is my senior year and I wanted to do something different,” Renning said. “Plus, it is a good way to stay in shape before track season.”

Renning, a four-time individual state cross country qualifier, has found swimming does not come as naturally to him as running.

“The hardest part of swimming for me is learning the technique and getting used to the breathing,” Renning said. “It is a lot different from running because when I run, I can breathe wherever and whenever I want. Whereas when I swim, I cannot.”

Renning, who competes for Kennedy, swims the freestyle and breaststroke and hopes to improve his times and technique throughout the season.

Xavier boys’ cross country coach Nathan Hopp believes swimming and distance running go hand in hand.

“Swimming is a great way to maintain one’s cardiovascular fitness and endurance without the pounding of putting miles on one’s legs and feet,” Hopp said. “I think it is awesome Jack has chosen to do swimming. I am a huge believer about participating in multiple sports to help build the skills and abilities of the overall athlete.”

While running is Renning’s main sport, he has decided not to pursue it in college.

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“The reason I am not going to run after high school competitively is because while I like running on a team, it seemed like a good idea to step back and enjoy running as more of a hobby for a bit,” Renning said.

Whether it be on a cross country course, track or in a pool, Hopp has seen how Renning can bring a fresh perspective to any team he is a part of.

“His work ethic will serve as an example of what hard work and dedication can do, regardless of what sport it is,” Hopp said.

For Renning, he hopes to show young athletes that although trying something new might be scary, it can be worth it to step outside one’s comfort zone.

“If someone wants to do something they have never done before they should just go for it because they might end up really enjoying it,” Renning said.

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