Meet the kids making waves in the Valley.
School: Kyrene Akimel A-al Middle School
Grade: 7th Grade
Twelve-year-old Jonathan Zinger is dedicated to making his dream of reaching the 2024 Olympic Trials a reality. Most early mornings and evenings, you’ll find the seventh grader training to reach that lofty goal.
“He likes to be 15 minutes early to practice,” says his mom Tamanika Zinger. “If you’re on time, he considers you late.”
One of only nine boys to be selected to compete in the Western Age Group Zone Championships National Meet in Lewisville, Texas, in August, Jonathan has his sights on besting his time in the 50 meter freestyle.
Jonathan started swim lessons at age 4 with swimming coach Shiela Arredondo. At 6 he was swimming recreationally with The Lakes Snakes in Tempe. From there he started swimming competitively with the Gold Medal Swim Club three years ago. Gold Medal Swim Club head coach Mike Chasson has coached at Stanford, Harvard, Arizona State University, and has mentored several Olympians.
Speaking of Olympians, Jonathan got to meet the most decorated Olympian of all time at a competition. Jonathan was wearing Michigan gear and Michael Phelps approached him to say how much he liked it.
While you might think winning lots of medals is what Jonathan is most proud of, his favorite accomplishment is assisting to save a younger kid from drowning using the skills he was taught in swim school.
Three Other Swimmers to Keep an Eye On
School: Sequoya Elementary
Swimming Start: She learned how to float before she could walk. Madison’s mom put her into ISR (Infant Swimming Resource) when she was 9 months old.
Best Stroke: Backstroke
Favorite Thing About Swimming: Madison isn’t shy about how good of a swimmer she is; she really likes winning.
Medal Count: At least 10, but probably 18 (she’s lost count)
Memorable Accomplishment: Trying hard and getting faster
Goal: Winning and swimming in the Olympics
School: Sonoran Trails Middle School
Swimming Start: Swimming as an infant with swim lessons at Hubbard Family Swim School
Best Stroke: Distance
Favorite Thing About Swimming: Talan enjoys the team atmosphere and finds the water relaxing and fun.
Medal Count: At least 50
Memorable Accomplishment: “My first race at state was the 200-yard freestyle and I was in lane eight and wasn’t supposed to win it, but I had a really good swim and won the race.”
Goal: Trying to keep his stroke longer and staying underwater longer
School: Desert Willow Elementary School
Swimming Start: Like his brother, Dylan started swimming as an infant with lessons at Hubbard Family Swim School
Best Stroke: Freestyle
Favorite Thing About Swimming: “Swimming is so unique. You don’t rely on your team as much.”
Medal Count: At least 50
Memorable Accomplishment: Dropping 8 seconds off his time in a recent race
Goal: Getting better at his dives