Falcon Focus: Freshman excels at varsity swimming May 25, 2018 — by Emilie Zhou and Sean Oh Permalink Unlike many top swimmers, freshman Morini Bianzino didn’t begin swimming competitively at age 4 or 5. Instead, he has been swimming competitively with De Anza Cupertino Aquatics (DACA) for only four years after being introduced to the sport by a friend. Since then, Morini Bianzino has become one of the best swimmers in his age group and is on the school’s varsity team. He currently swims for the school, practices with DACA and attends meets for both teams. Some of Morini Bianzino’s biggest achievements include setting two DACA records last summer in the 13-14 age group for 200 meters freestyle and 400 meters freestyle with times of 1:58.69 and 4:15.38, respectively. In addition, he cracked the top 50 in the U.S. for his age group in the 200 free event last summer when he was 14. “I realized I had potential when I began catching up and beating some people in my team that had a history of being faster than me,” he said. Racing and participating in relay races are Morini Bianzino's favorite parts of swimming. He especially remembers one relay where he surprised many of his teammates with his unexpected speed. “Overall it’s a great experience to be considered an underdog and somehow managing to catch up to the people that had underestimated you for so long,” Morini Bianzino said. Coming this far in his swimming was not easy and required hard work and dedication. Not only has Morini Bianzino grown as a swimmer, but his participation has also made him feel more confident out of the pool as well. “My experiences taught me how to control my nerves and perform in front of others without panicking and messing up,” Morini Bianzino said. In order to continue to improve, Morini Bianzino practices six days a week in preparation for the various meets, which occur almost every week for the school team and every month for the DACA team. His training includes practicing for two and a half hours in the afternoons, one hour in the mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays and another hour and a half on Saturdays. His practices also consist of about half an hour of different dryland exercises, totaling up to around 16 hours a week of training. Despite the demanding practices and frequent meets, Morini Bianzino’s been able to balance his schedule between swimming and school by “focusing on one at a time rather than being overwhelmed by both.” Being a member of a team also motivates him throughout the season and Morini Bianzino values the time he’s able to spend with his teammates. “I have a lot of friends in the group and every relay is really fun with them,” Morini said. “Just being with them and practicing with them makes me want to do it more.” Even though the sport has become a constant in his life, Morini Bianzino is uncertain about continuing swimming throughout college. He would like to have a career outside of swimming, but will continue to love the sport and the memories he has made. “My favorite part about swimming is just being with your friends at meets, cheering for your friends, watching them race and seeing all the hard work put into practice pay off,” Morini Bianzino said.