Just a few years ago, Arroyo Grande High School’s Trent Schachter had hoop dreams.
The junior went from swimming off and on from the ages 4 to 10 to focusing on basketball. But he stayed around the pool, thanks to his older sisters — one of whom swam collegiately for Tulane in New Orleans — and returned his freshman year with a rekindled passion for the sport.
It paid off his junior year in the form of two top-five finishes at the CIF-Southern Section meet in the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle, and a place on the school’s third-place 400-meter free relay. The relay team went on to place seventh overall at the state meet. His time in the 100 fly and the 400 relay may stand up as All-American times, and he has an All-American consideration time in the 200 free.
The results are scheduled to be released July 15.
Schachter will also swim at the Junior National Championships in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Aug. 8-12, in both the 100 fly, 200 free, and he will try to qualify in the 200 fly and 100 back at the Stanford Futures Championship meet only a few days before, Aug. 4-7.
Schachter also had CIF-consideration times for all eight events this year and set school records in the 200 free, 100 fly, 100 back and the 400 free relay. He lowered the 200 free record by a whopping six seconds.
For his accomplishments in the pool, he has been named The Tribune’s 2016 San Luis Obispo County Boys Swimmer of the Year.
His talent and potential as a freshman were apparent to head coach Russell Peterson “right away.”
“He had his strokes down,” Peterson said. “He had good fundamentals from his time swimming club when he was younger. It was a matter of getting back in shape, and he’s kind of been progressing since then.”
Peterson says that while Schachter had the talent, he still needed to put in the work. And he has, swimming year-round for both his school and the San Luis Obispo Seahawks, swimming two times a day, six times per week.
“I don’t like to lose,” he said. “If this guy’s going as hard as me, I’ve got to keep going. I can’t flake out and not go to practice.”
It’s not to say he wasn’t swimming well before. Schachter had a CIF-consideration time in the 200 free as a freshman and swam at the CIF-Southern Section meet that year. The following season, he swam the 100 fly and placed 13th in the 100 back at the same race.
“This past year he has really taken the next step to more of an elite level,” Peterson said.
Schachter credits his sister in showing him firsthand what it would take to become a college athlete.
“It motivated me a little bit more to really get into swimming,” Schachter said.
Wet Behind the Ears
Since Schachter didn’t swim competitively leading up to high school, he missed out on larger meets that may have helped prepare him for the big races he experienced this year.
“I’m still getting into swimming, so I didn’t have a lot of experience with the higher-level meets,” Schachter said. “So it was kind of hard to get my mind right for each race.”
However, with some experience under his belt after events such as Junior Nationals — which Schachter said “made CIF look like a piece of cake” — he is confident about next season.
“I’m excited for next year because I’ll have so much more experience — I won’t be as nervous — going out in my races, and I’ll be more comfortable with my stroke,” Schachter said. “I’ll know my strengths and weaknesses a lot better, so I can totally commit to each race.”
He has goals set for next season, too.
“Winning CIF is definitely something I’d love to do,” he said.
Colleges have come calling, as the recruiting season opened July 1, and Schachter has his sights set on a Division I swimming program, wherever that may be.
“I want to see where I can go with the sport, just keep going with it,” Schachter said. “Keep pushing through the hard times and enjoy the good times.”