Riding A Wave Of Aquatic Excellence


Swimmer Jake Newmark excels on county and state level


Jake Newmark (center) at the starting blocks before getting ready to compete in the 500-meter at the Nassau County Championships

Jake Newmark had quite the swim season to wrap up his junior year. Among the accolades the member of Garden City High School’s Class of 2020 earned was being named Most Valuable Swimmer at the 2019 Nassau County Finals, earned the Nassau County Conference 1 Swimmer of the Year, All-County, All-State and All-American. In addition, he posted automatic All-American times of 1:38.15 in the 200-meter and 4:27.10 in the 500-meter, clinching the NYSPHSAA (New York State Public High School Athletic Association) individual title for both. Lastly, the team comprised of Newmark, John Protano, Liam Gaffney and Chris Reilly captured the Nassau County championship for 400-meter freestyle relay. The state-level accolades are what resonated most for the 6’4” swimmer.

“Winning the NYSPHSAA state titles [for the 200-meter and 500-meter] was great because it was something I envisioned from the beginning of the season,” he said. “To see it all happen on my actual birthday was also pretty cool.”
Newmark’s interest in these aquatic endeavors started with his mom, who was also a swimmer. And while swimming lessons came into the equation around the time he was 6, Newmark initially hated having to learn this new skill. He even wound up joining the Garden City Community Pool swim team at the age of 8 before deciding to bail.

Jake Newmark after posting an All-American times of 1:38.15 in the 200-meter at the NYSPHSAA (New York State Public High School Athletic Association) finals

“I was on the B team and I quit halfway through it,” he recalled. “While I never liked going to swim lessons, I started up swimming again when I was 11. I tried it again and it was a different thing. That’s when I joined my first official team [The Long Island Express] and have been with them ever since. I’ve always been swimming for Garden City, whether it was the varsity team or just the community pool team.”
The price for Newmark’s elite excellence is plenty of hard work and time in the water. Aside from a three-week break in August, training is year-round and you’ll find the young athlete in the pool six times a week for two to three hours each time. It’s a price Newmark is willing to play, particularly with the payoff being so rewarding.

“I think the most challenging part is the dedication and commitment that comes with it. You have to practice every day. If you’re out of the water for more than a few days, you get so out of shape and have to start from scratch. So that’s the hard part. I’ve had to miss a bunch of things because I’d have meets or practice,” he explained. “But my favorite part of swimming is how you can see your improvement. Time is a standard thing. It’s not like in basketball or football where it’s arbitrary when you say someone is better than this or that person. It’s not definitive. Swimming times are definitive.”
While Newmark remains unsure of what career path he is likely to pursue, he recently committed to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he’ll continue his aquatic pursuits.

“I was planning on going in undecided. They have a lot of programs so I’m going to have a lot of options to choose from,” he said. “I got a decent scholarship from them, which I’m really excited about. In the meantime, I’m going to continue swimming the next four years for them.”

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In addition to being editor of Hicksville News and Massapequa Observer, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).

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