Posted in Sports

Tim Woinoski taking his swimming career the extra mile

The junior from Coquitlam’s dedication to sport and school has made him one of the top swimmers at SFU

Woinoski finished in sixth place and got an all-American honour in the 1,650m freestyle at the Division II National Championships.
Woinoski finished in sixth place and got an all-American honour in the 1,650m freestyle at the Division II National Championships.
Image Credits: Alexa Tarrayo

Tim Woinoski’s swimming endeavours were destined to occur at SFU, given that Woinoski’s history with SFU goes way before his freshman year. Woinoski started swimming competitively in grade 10 and practiced swimming at SFU ever since. “I didn’t look at any other place except SFU when I [was] searching for universities to swim for,” Woinoski said. Currently in his third year, the swimmer dove into his beginnings in the sport.

Prior to grade 10, Woinoski wasn’t serious about the sport, but soon enough he started competing within BC through Swim Canada and ended up in the pools of Lorne Davies Complex longer than he had expected.

“Cory Beatt, my current coach besides coach [Liam] Donnelly, has been training me ever since I joined the club team in high school,” he explained about the deeper ties Woinoski has to SFU. Fast-tracking to first year of varsity, Woinoski recollected his first training camp which added to his new experiences. He thoroughly enjoyed it with a familiar person, such as Beatt, around him.

“In my first year, you realize that it’s a different type of competition and get nervous. But I personally felt more relaxed and excited about swimming during dual meets,” Woinoski expressed.

Dual meets last approximately for two hours as compared to swim meets, and freshman Woinoski revelled during dual meets as he was entirely new to them. “It felt like you were swimming for something,” he said. One of the dual meets was hosted in California where Woinoski tasted the competition level as he swam against Division I competitors. He further said, “The team atmosphere is different as everyone starts to care for each other genuinely as you watch them compete in races. There’s an entire ‘team’ aspect to it that makes dual meets appealing.”

Besides dual meets, swim meets, or peak meets, SFU swimmers are mainly training for NCAA championships. Prior to the NCAAs, a swim meet enables goals at the beginning of every year. “These goals are tough and I was unable to meet my goals,” briefed Woinoski about his first-year trials for the NCAAs.

So, for the second year, Woinoski pushed harder on the same goals to try and be faster at his sport by training over summer. In trying, Woinoski scored a faster time on an 800m freestyle, but didn’t succeed in achieving his own goal in the 1,500m; but he qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships, regardless.

Competing in the NCAAs meant almost a dream come true for Woinoski. However, he added, “It made me remember why I swim. Meeting faster competitors really leaves you inspired.” Woinoski’s swimming trajectory has never been smooth, as he underperformed in certain swim meets while excelling in others.

“It made me remember why I swim. Meeting faster competitors really leaves you inspired.”

Despite the uncertain ride, he qualified a second time for the NCAAs in his third year. His goal this year was to enlist himself as an all-American within the top eight as he had previously been placed at 10. Woinoski laughed, “It might sound corny, but it was a dream that I managed to achieve,” in regards to his overall wins.

A swimmer’s journey never stops as they continuously have to train and live on a routine. “We practice nine times a week for two hours and, sometimes, I double on Mondays, on Wednesday, and Fridays; getting up at 4 a.m. on most days,” explained Woinoski. The only days that Woinoski gets off are Sundays when he admittedly tries to sleep in. “There is no stopping to this,” Woinoski asserted, “as, from September to the middle of August, I’m required to train with only four weeks in between to relax.”

Despite the meticulousness of being a swimming athlete, Woinoski only wants to take things the extra mile. “I wish I could go to Mexico and compete in open waters, but time and money are constant constraints for me.” Woinoski liberally shared with The Peak his passion for swimming and beyond.

Time is a pressing concern for a student athlete. When asked about his technique for balancing school and swimming, Woinoski said, “You don’t. You just choose your battles.” A very particular and honest outlook from a student athlete, Woinoski explained, “I do not mind getting a B if that means more time to train and practice.”

Woinoski’s prompt answer left no doubt that opportunity costs are the bravest costs students take up. “Every athlete has to struggle between this tug of school and sports, and it’s definitely something we have to act upon with dedication,” he stated. As an engineering student, Woinoski stated that it would be very difficult to keep pushing himself if he didn’t love swimming as much as he does.

Fun Fact: What are your hobbies outside of swimming?

“I just sleep mostly, when I have the time.”