Swimming is not just a sport, but it’s a way to express oneself. When competitive swimmers dive into the pool, they become ones with the water, providing spectators with a fresh look at what a human can do.
Wantagh High School’s Andrew Diano is only a sophomore, but he’s been swimming on the Warriors’ varsity team since he was in the seventh grade. With eyes on competing in the NCAA in the near future, Diano spoke with the Tribune about his success thus far and his goals going forward.
Q: What’s it like to be a high school athlete?
A: It’s kind of interesting now that I’m a sophomore. I first started varsity as a seventh grader, and I was always the youngest one on the team. I was always around older kids. Overall, it’s been a good experience. I just have to manage my time between school and swimming, doing what’s best for me.
Q: How did you get your start in swimming competitively?
A: When I was young, I tried a whole bunch of different sports—baseball, basketball and more—and swimming was the fourth or fifth one. I always liked the water, and I’ve stuck with it since I was 8 or 9 years old. I started on a summer team and then, in the winter, I did a CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) team. Now, I swim for Farmingdale Aquatics, which is my club team all year round, as well as the varsity team with coach [Chris] Rafferty.
Q: How hectic is your schedule?
A: I’d say pretty much most of my days consist of going to school, going home, doing homework, studying and going to practice. Then, I go home, do a little more homework and more studying and then, sleeping. It’s pretty much my routine every day.
Q: What do you feel your keys to success are?
A: It’s the amount of work I put into swimming. Other swimmers aren’t willing to work as hard. You need to be willing to put in the work to get the result. That’s the biggest key to getting better. You have to actually push yourself to the point that you’re uncomfortable.
Q: What have you done since you got to the varsity level that you feel stands out?
A: This year has been my most accomplished year in terms of swimming. Earlier in the year, I set the school record for the 200 IM [individual medley]. I also qualified for States three times this year. I’m only a tenth of a second off the 500 freestyle record, and I’m hoping to get that at the state championships.
Q: What are your goals moving forward?
A: I just want to continue to get better, improving my times. My goal, by the end of high school, is to hold as many records on the record board as I can. That would just be cool to say that I hold X amount of records.