It took a bit longer than most swimmers for Ryan Current to find that a life in the pool was his calling. Once he did, the Minnetonka senior has been singular in his focus on becoming the best swimmer he can be.
Many competitive swimmers begin training in elementary school, often joining a club when they are as young as 6 years old. Current spent his younger days pursuing football, basketball and baseball. Swimming experience was limited to a series of community ed-based lessons.
“When I was in sixth grade, they recommended I try out for an actual swim team,” Current said. “I joined the Minnetonka club team and things just went from there.”
He has eschewed other sports since and has become one of top swimmers on Minnetonka, which is currently ranked No. 2 in Class 2A. A freestyle specialist, he’s earned a scholarship to swim for Eastern Michigan next year.
Staff writer Jim Paulsen spoke with Current about why he became a swimmer and what he hopes his future holds.
Q: Do you ever wonder where you might be if you had started younger, like so many other swimmers?
A: I’ve never thought about it that way. I’ve had some great coaches. I feel like, with the coaching and training I’ve received, I’d have ended up here.
Q: Did it come naturally for you?
A: Yeah, it did. When I was just taking lessons, I always thought it might be fun to swim with a club. I would bring out the competitive side in me. I’ve always loved to race.
Q: What do you enjoy most?
A: I’ve met a lot of friends this way. And I’ve gotten to know a bunch of new people on other teams.
Q: What part of swimming resonates with you?
A: I like being in the water. I’m good at it, so it’s fun from that perspective. And I like the aspect that you practice with and train as team, but there‘s also the individual part, where you can race for yourself and don’t have to rely on a team.
Q: Why focus on freestyle events?
A: My main events are the 100 and 200 freestyle, and the 200 and 400 [freestyle] relay. I love the non-freestyle strokes, but part of it is that we have some phenomenal non-freestyle swimmers.
Q: Is there any stroke you don’t like? The breaststroke is one of those love-it-or-hate-it strokes.
A: I cannot breaststroke to save my life. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t click for me.
Q: Why Eastern Michigan?
A: I went to college swimming websites and looked for schools that seemed like a good fit. Like, they might be graduating some freestylers or they need young guys. I sent out a form to Eastern Michigan. They got back to me and set up an official visit. When I went there, I loved it right away. It fit. It felt right to me.
Q: How far can Minnetonka go this year?
A: I think we can accomplish a lot. Last year we had some great midseason meets, but when it came to state, we didn’t finish well. I don’t know if we weren’t mentally ready or what. This year we want to get there and finish the way we want to.
Q: What is one thing non-swimmers may not know about competitive swimming?
A: In swimming, as soon as we’re done with the season, right away we start with club and that goes into July and August. The only break we get at the end of the season is maybe a couple of weeks off.
Q: Best swimming memory?
A: Last summer I got to go to the Junior Nationals in Irvine, Calif. We got to swim a 400 freestyle relay. I was a great experience seeing the pool filled with the best swimmers in the country.