BLOOMINGTON — Former Bremen swimmer Jon Hueni’s experience at Indiana University has proven to be more difficult than his high school exploits, but that was to be expected.
Competing at a Big Ten school, which currently has six teams in the nation’s Top-25 according to Collegeswimming.com, definitely presents its fair share of difficult challenges.
Competition for available roster spots on the No. 14-ranked Hoosiers swimming and diving squad is fierce and does not come without sacrifice, both in and out of the pool.
“I would have to say that the Big Ten’s one of the deepest conferences in the country, if not the deepest,” Hueni said. “Coming to IU was a bit of a reality check when I came in because guys were swimming times in practice that I was going in meets. Every single practice is basically a race to just stay on the team or make the travel team.”
A regular day in Hueni’s life would make the average person crave crawling into their bed come sundown, but without fail, the IU junior pushes through the pain and fatigue to accomplish all of his goals as a student-athlete.
Hueni arrives at the pool at 5:45 a.m. each morning and swims for two hours. He then heads to class to take on the academic rigors of a collegiate school day, eats lunch and then heads to the weight room. After lifting, Hueni goes back to the pool for over two more hours before returning to his off-campus house to study and rest.
Hueni spent his freshman and sophomore seasons primarily training and did not see much action until this year when some of his times in the exhibition swims would have scored points in IU’s meets.
“My first two years were pretty hard just training and not seeing any results,” Hueni said of his efforts. “But it was nice to see all of that work pay off. Honestly, what I was most happy about was contributing second- and third-place points to the team.”
When given the opportunity to swim, Hueni set personal records in the 100 (49.45) and 200 (1:49.96) fly and scored points to help IU defeat rival Purdue in February.
While admitting no spot on the team comes with a guarantee and that competition for those slots is always intense, Hueni would not have it any other way.
“I am looking forward to the challenge as far as how I am approaching it mentally,” Hueni said. “Everyone comes in at the beginning of the year, and the same effort is expected of all of us. Nothing is just handed to us and it is more, in my view, an opportunity not based upon what you did last year.”
Sacrificing his summers to train while in high school as other kids traveled and took vacations prepared Hueni for missing out on opportunities like summer internships and traveling abroad to study as a college student.
But because of his desire and effort, along with a multitude of coaches Hueni acknowledged for his successes, he seems to be peaking at the right time in his collegiate career and looks forward to his senior season with the Hoosiers next year.
Ultimately, the public finance major’s self-professed “perfect end” to his swimming career is to make the Olympic Trials for a shot at the Olympic Team.
“It sounds kind of crazy, but I am just straight chasing the Olympic dream,” Hueni said. “It is what any kid wants to do and that is compete at the Olympics.”
Achieving that dream begins at the Speedo Champions Series at the IU Natatorium March 24-27 where he will try to set a time that will get him into the U.S Olympic Swimming Trials.