With the gargantuan sounds of Metallica blasting through Jack Sieckhaus’ ears before a race, he becomes amped to make some noise of his own in the swimming pool.
So far this season, the Mercer Island High School (MIHS) senior captain has notched a state-qualifying time in the 100-yard backstroke and he’ll be gunning for more state marks in other events as the campaign rolls on.
He achieved a state time of 53.98 seconds for MIHS, but owns a personal record in the event of 51.04 that he snagged during an Olympic Cascade Aquatics club meet. He’s hoping to hit a 49 at state next month.
Sieckhaus delved into what makes him crank things up in the pool come backstroke time: “I think a really big part of short-course swimming when the pool is 25 yards, which is what we do for high school, is underwater dolphin kicks. And so that’s one thing I’ve focused a lot on in the past couple of years. I’ve just felt like backstroke really allows me to hammer in my underwater dolphin kicks. I think that’s my strength,” he said.
Last season, Sieckhaus was part of the MIHS 3A state championship swim and dive squad along with fellow captains Colin Carmichael and JP Headrick, who are both seniors this year. Carmichael, who swam on the state-winning 200-yard freestyle relay, has committed to swim next season at UC-Santa Barbara.
MIHS, which has won three consecutive state crowns, stood at 2-2 this season at press time. Sieckhaus said they graduated a host of stellar swimmers last year and have a solid group of younger guys on board this time out with former MIHS standout swimmer Tim Chung positioned in the head-coaching seat.
The captains encourage the Islanders to be supportive of each other, have fun and get loud during meets.
“It’s just making sure everyone is being as loud as humanly possible and making sure they’re all lined up on the side of the pool when they’re not swimming or warming up or warming down,” Sieckhaus said. “You can really tell a difference with how your team is doing by the volume on the pool deck.”
Sieckhaus said that through swimming over the last 12 years, he’s forged firm friendships that are sure to last a lifetime.
“There’s just something about being in a tough environment for three hours a day, every single day, just grinding it out with the same people. It really brings you close together,” he said.
The Reporter asked Sieckhaus a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I’ll say people singing the wrong lyrics to a song.
What’s your favorite restaurant on Mercer Island?
I would say Einstein Bros. Bagels. That’s really popular with the swim team.
What’s the best piece of advice that you can give somebody who’s just starting out, like maybe at the Mercer Island swim program?
My best advice I would give to a swimmer would be to compare yourself to where you were, don’t compare yourself to others
Do you have a hidden talent that people wouldn’t know about?
Yeah, I can do a pretty good handstand. I used to be a gymnast.
What’s a skill that you’d like to learn?
I’d like to learn how to drive a manual car.
What superpower would you like to have?
I definitely think I would want to be able to fly. Just be able to take off and go for a cruise around Seattle. Flying. I think that’d be awesome.
What would your dream job be?
Right now, I’m thinking I really want to be a doctor. Emergency medicine doctor.
Do you have a specific major that you have planned for next year when you start (college)?
Probably biology. I’m taking a psychology class this year, and it’s opening my eyes up to maybe majoring in psychology.