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Luca Olivieri: making a splash

Photo Credit: Kaite Wilson

By Mike Rose | Sports Editor

Luca Olivieri made a big splash at Brockport in his first season with the program. Olivieri, a transfer from Ithaca College, has been a bright spot for the young Brockport men’s swimming and diving team this past season.

Although now it comes as second nature, swimming was not Olivieri’s first love in athletics.

“At a very young age my dad encouraged me to try new sports and get a feel for what I really wanted to do,” Olivieri said. “It was in 4th grade when I discovered swimming and immediately I hated it. Up until my freshman year of high school I decided to stick to modified baseball and try my luck on the basketball team; both which I had very little fun playing. I wanted to race. My longing desire to race gravitated me towards swimming once again, this time to find out that I love the competition.”

The early returns this season show Olivieri made a good choice. He competed this past season individually in the 200-yard Individual Medley (IM), 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard backstroke and 400-yard IM. He was also a key relay member for many of the Golden Eagles teams. At the SUNYAC Championships he managed a trio of podium finishes tak- ing seventh in the 100-yard backstroke, fifth in the 400-yard IM and helped the 400-yard relay team place seventh.

Olivieri’s performance certainly was no fluke. He has spent countless hours in the pool working to perfect his craft and shave precise seconds off his times.

“Most days in practice I pick and choose one thing to work on,” Olivieri said. “That allows me to focus solely on the one part of my race that needs work. I consciously look to get 1% better every day. I’ve been given the nickname ‘Practice Pookie’ for going all out in practice and giving 100%. I feel as if I earned it because of my mentality in practice. I am a strong believer in, ‘You are going to get out what you put into it’ and ‘Practicing how you perform.’There is no time for me to go halfway on a set in practice if I want to better myself as a swimmer.”

‘Practice Pookie’ may not have just his practice habits to thank for his efforts this season. He also, like many athletes, has a very specific routine before each race.

“Before I get up to the blocks, I splash water on myself and get wet,” Olivieri said. “The feeling of putting water on myself before racing allows me to get in the zone before div- ing in the water. When behind the blocks, I do the same thing again just after the heat in front of me starts. In my head, I use this trick to convince myself that if you want to win, you have to touch the water first. I want to be the first to get up on the blocks, the first person to touch the water and hopefully finish to the wall first. In order to win my event, I have to think like a winner before I even get in the water.”

Olivieri is hoping to continue to make strides moving into next season. He is taking aim to break the records in the 100 back, 200 back and 400 IM next season. He’s also hop- ing to help lead his relay teams to breaking team records as well. As he heads into just his second season at Brockport, the future is certainly bright for Olivieri.

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