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Sarasota Athlete of the Week: Toby Schwenk

The Sarasota Military Academy junior, who swims for Booker High, won the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle Oct. 28 at the team's district meet.

Toby Schwenk (Photo by Ryan Kohn)
Toby Schwenk (Photo by Ryan Kohn)
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Toby Schwenk is a junior at Sarasota Military Academy who swims on the Booker High boys team, as SMA does not have a swim program. Schwenk won the 200-yard freestyle (1:51.16) and 500-yard freestyle (4:57.96) at the Tornadoes' Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A district meet, held Oct. 28 at Arlington Park and Aquatic Complex. Schwenk also swims for the Sarasota Tsunami club team. 

When did you start competitive swimming?

I started swimming when I was 4 years old. My family got me into the sport early. I didn't start competitive swimming until I was 6. But I always loved being in the water and doing whatever I could in it: swimming, skiing, water polo, diving, snorkeling, everything. 

What is the appeal to you?

When I started, swimming was a safe space for me to focus on myself. It still is, but now I'm also swimming to possibly get a college scholarship. Mostly, though, I just love the sport. I love competing. 

What is your favorite event?

I like the 200 freestyle and, recently, I have been getting into open-water swimming. After my short course season is over, I plan on doing more open-water swims. I like those a lot. 

What have you been working to improve?

My 500 (freestyle). Last year I got good times at states (4:43.59) but I think I can improve on it. Also, I've been working on my 200 backstroke, but they don't do that swim at the high school state meet. 

What is your favorite memory?

It's probably my first open-water swim, which was at Fort Myers Beach in April. It was the Open Water Junior Nationals. There were probably 30 15-17 year-olds swimming against each other. I started at the back at the pack because everyone sprinted up front. I just held on and kept passing people, one by one. Each time I got more motivation to pass the next one. I got up to the top three, but then I injured my shoulder and fell back again. But that feeling of chasing people is one of my favorite moments. 

What are your goals?

At regionals, I want to get close to my best times to make sure I qualify for states. And then at states, I'd like to get a 4:32.00 in the 500 freestyle and a 1:42.00 in the 200 freestyle. 

What is your favorite food?

Mac and cheese. It's a versatile food. You can put meat in it, lobster, pretty much anything. 

What is your favorite TV show?

I have to go with 'Family Guy.'

What is your favorite subject?

I like both physics and current events. Physics because I can use it in the real world. Current events because I think it's good to know what's going on in the world, to stay informed. 

Which superpower would you pick?

Probably flight. If I could shoot up to north Georgia or Tennessee for a day and come right back? That would be awesome. 

What is the best advice you have received?

My parents have told me to always get help if I need it. For a while I tried to always be self-reliant and when you do that, sometimes you end up falling behind. It's always better to ask for help. 

Finish this sentence: "Toby Schwenk is …"

Exuberant. I try to find the best in everything. 



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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