Sports Editor

John Zipp ’14 has been a key asset to the F&M men’s swim team ever since he arrived on campus two years ago. Zipp is known as one of the best freestylers in F&M swimming history, and has real potential at claiming a few records in his four years here.

Zipp practically learned how to swim before he could walk.

“I started swimming when I was four years old,” Zipp said.

At age eight, Zipp joined a local club team near his home in Millstone, New Jersey. Zipp swam for his high school all four years at the Ranney School where he won first in the 50 free in the Patriot Championship and earned himself a record in the 50, 100, 200, and 400
freestyle relay.

“The level of intensity for practices [in high school] never really amounted to what I have to do here,” Zipp said. “It was a much different environment, and much more laidback.”

When asked about his goals for both himself and the team, Zipp immediately reacted with concern for the team. As an upperclassman and experienced swimmer with two years on the team, Zipp takes his position on the team very seriously.

“Whether that is in the pool or out of pool, you can always do things that can help the team or even just one person,” Zipp said.

Zipp then went on to explain what he personally had to work on, which he distinguished as running — on land. During the summer, Zipp worked hard to prepare himself, and his body, for the critical season ahead. Zipp admits that his running needed some work, so throughout the summer he spent time running and signed up for a duathlon, a quarter-mile swim and a 5k run.

“Long story short, the swim went perfectly fine, the run was a different story,” Zipp said.

Zipp also set out to get on the F&M record board for the 200 and 100 free.

Ben Delia, head coach of the swimming team, sent out emails throughout the summer to the team, reminding them September was not far away and the team would very soon be back in the water.

“[He said] we needed to stay in shape and we should be swimming as frequently as possible, so that come September, when the season starts up, we don’t have to waste any time trying to get back in shape.”

The swim team formally came together for the first time this past Monday, the team’s official first practice.

“This first week, we have stayed pretty low in yardage— around 4600 yards each day— and on Tuesdays and Thursdays we have practice at 6:15 a.m. and then again at 4:30 p.m.,” Zipp said.

During morning practices, the swimmers remain on land, running close to two miles a day and then lift together. Then they are ready for the pool and swim for 25 to 30 minutes.

“I can vouch for the rest of the team when I say after the first week we are all really sore, and coach if you are reading this… thanks,” Zipp said.

For us non-swimmers, this routine sounds even more daunting. That being said, everything will be worth it in February, come the end of the season and the Centennial Conference Championships.

Clearly the team is back with a vengeance this season, striving for bigger and better things this fall.

“[We hope to] not only win champs, and regain the title, but also to become much closer as a team,” Zipp said. “We are known for being one of the closest-knit teams on campus, and we want to keep it that way.”

The team has been back together for a week and is already seeing results. With Zipp and some other key swimmers back this season, the team has a lot of potential for success this upcoming season.

Questions? Email Mark at

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