ccomplishing Lifelong Goal of Swimming Career, PHS Alum Stange Competing at U.S. Olympic Trials
TRIAL PERIOD: Will Stange heads to victory in a backstroke race during his career with the Princeton High boys’ swimming team. This week, Stange, a rising junior at Cornell who took third in the 200 backstroke in the 2016 Ivy League Championships for the Big Red, is competing at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Will Stange was taking it easy last week, chilling at home after wrapping up his sophomore year at Cornell.
Stange wiled away the days playing video games, watching movies, reading, and napping but this wasn’t a matter of a college student decompressing.
Instead, former Princeton High swimming standout Stange was storing up energy as he tapered before heading out to Omaha, Neb. in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Looking ahead to the event, Stange was primed to get into action in the pool.
“I am very excited, I am definitely psyched up and a little bit nervous but it’s good because it’s just more energy I can use for my race,” said Stange, who competed in the 100 backstroke on Monday, clocking a time of 57.14 to place 94th of 183 finishers in the event, and will be swimming in the 200 back on June 30.
“At this point, it is definitely a thing where you turn all of the negatives into positives.”
Stange enjoyed a positive experience in his sophomore year at Cornell, showing improvement in his specialty.
“I dropped a few more seconds in my 200 back, I ended up with a 1:43.50,” said Stange.
“I was third at Ivies, that was really good. I firmed up my technique a lot from what I learned over last summer, which is what got me my trial cut.”
The Cornell team also showed progress collectively, taking fifth at the Ivy championship meet.
“Everybody was on the same page a lot more this year; I think we just fed off of each other going fast all season long,” said Stange. “We wanted to work hard because everybody else was working hard.”
After the end of the college season, Stange kept working hard to get ready for the trials.
“It was pretty much the same schedule as in the season, except less of the team was there,” said Stange, noting that Cornell swimmers typically put in 20 hours a week between their work in the pool and dry land training. We kept up the team lifts all the way until finals week.”
Returning home to Princeton in early June, Stange kept up his training regimen.
“Once I got back it was two weeks of work with Kip Hein of the Princeton Piranhas; training with my club team,” said Stange, noting that he was swimming at Community Park, John Witherspoon, and Princeton’s DeNunzio Pool.
“Kip gets the best out of everybody, he knows how to make his swimmers work. I really felt like it was the right thing to do because I owe Kip a lot. He taught me how to work really, really hard, all the way from when I was nine- or 10-years-old until I went to college.”
For Stange, competing in the trials will be a culminating event of his swimming career and will prompt a planned hiatus from the sport.
“I am looking at it like I just want to give it my all and then I think I am going to take some time off next year,” said Stange.
“Next year I am mainly into exploring everything else that Cornell has to offer that I never put time or energy into finding. I think a whole new world is going to open up to me. I want to do weightlifting and experiment with some body weight fitness stuff, do a lot of yoga, just stretching and then do cycling for cardio and maybe start running so I can start doing triathlons because that is what I want to do out of college.”
While Stange won’t be in the pool as much over the next year, he knows what he has gained through swimming will help him in whatever he does.
“I want to thank my friends, my family, my teammates, and my coaches on the CP Bluefish, Princeton Piranhas swim team, PHS swim team, and Cornell swim team, I could have not made it as far without them,” said Stange.
“Swimming has taken me so far in life. It has taught me self-discipline, confidence, health, nutrition, and to know my body extremely well inside and out. It’s a great sport and it translates to the rest the world like that.”
In Stange’s view, the break from competition will make him hungry to take things to a higher level in his senior year.
“I am less than a tenth of a second off the school record in the 200 back and I led that race at the Ivies for seven of eight laps,” said Stange.
“I think by the time I am a senior, I will want to come back and see what I can do.”