Qualifying for the Olympics is about as ambitious of an athletic goal as a person can hope to achieve. However, setting your sights on the Olympics while also aiming to redefine the way the world thinks about your particular discipline takes that challenge and cranks it past 11 on the difficulty dial. Enter Jesse Zastrow, a 30 year-old sponsor-less swimmer who lives on Milpas Street and is looking to shock the world.
“It’s pretty darn crazy,” laughs Zastrow when I ask him to assess the “craziness” of his idea to qualify for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo as a 50m and 100m freestyle swimmer. “I’d say it’s about as bold as a child climbing Mt. Everest.”
Specifically, Zastrow is looking to qualify as a freestyle swimmer who never puts his face in the water. That’s right, when Zastrow swims his heat and the other competitors are blazing away in a mad splash of whirling arms, scissoring legs, and down-facing heads constantly turning to breathe, he’ll be enjoying an entirely different view of the proceedings, his eyes above the waterline and his arms and legs driving toward the finish with markedly less wake behind him.
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