Athlete of the Month: Mike Atanasoff (Waverly swimming)

Waverly senior Mike Atanasoff is seen here at the WHS pool — a place where he has been flying past his competition all year.

WAVERLY — Apparently, Waverly senior Mike Atanasoff heard that records were made to be broken. The thought that they all didn’t have to be broken by him seems to have been lost in the translation.

Atanasoff opened the swimming season by qualifying for the New York State Championships in two events by hitting the state standard in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyles.

In a side note, Atanasoff introduced himself to 2020 by breaking the school and pool record in the 100-yard butterfly. He beat a three-time state qualifier in the event and hit the state standard in THAT event, too. The guy he beat ALSO beat the standard in the same race.

Oh, and for good measure, he also picked up his 200th race win in a meet at Greene in December.

Atanasoff knew he’d be fast this year, but surprised himself.

“I had a pretty good idea of where I was at,” he said. ”I wasn’t expecting to go as fast as I did, but I knew I’d be pushing state cut times that first week because, this year especially, ever since states ended we’ve been training really hard. Throughout the summer we did double sessions and we’ve been doing double sessions all season. I went to a swim camp in Michigan and that was good stuff. We’ve been upping the training recently. I knew I was going to be fast, but I was pretty ecstatic with those times.

I should mention here that at the Waverly Invite, Atanasoff broke the school, pool, meet and Interscholastc Athletic Conference records in the 50, which someone else had, and the 100, which he already had.

“(That) was really, really cool. I knew I was going to go fast. I wasn’t sure how fast, but I was really glad to break the 50 record, finally, and re-break the 100 record. Going 46 was unexpected. That was really cool.”

His previous PR in the 100 was 47.8.

“I dropped about a full second.”

For the record. Most PRs at this level are broken by a 10th of a second or so. Going a full second faster is extraordinary.

“I’m at the point where it’s really difficult to have half or full second drops. I think the guy who finished first in the state last year had a 20.6, so I’m at the point where it’s really hard to drop time.“

Atanasoff said that he cut about a quarter of a second off his PR in the 50.

“That’s definitely a “W” for me. I’m looking to break the 21-second barrier at states. That would be really cool.”

Preparation for the Wolverine Invite included a taper (reducing exercise) and stopping morning lifting in the week before the invite. The week of the invite they stopped double sessions and eased down on the yards.

Atanasoff said an average day would include 6,000 to 7,000 yards. If they do double sessions, he said that they’d do 5,000 in the morning and 5,000 in the afternoon.

“The main focus now is the state meet because I’ve already made the state cuts. I’ll definitely wear fast skin (a swim suit) and will taper for sectionals. One of my goals is to hit top three at the state meet, so we’re still full throttle for that.”

As of this writing, Atanasoff had the best time in New York State in the 50 and the third-best time in the 100.

“It’s hard to put into words because I’ve been doing this for quite a while now and to see (how far I’ve come) is really cool,” he said. ”When I first started, I never thought I’d be here but now I’m here and it’s really gratifying. I’ve been training all year for six years. It’s been a lot of yards and lot of hours. It’s definitely worth it.”

Getting to Know

Mike Atanasoff

Favorite Subject: English and math Calculus and English 13. Calculus is a different kind of subject than I’m used to. It’s definitely upped the difficulty a lot. I enjoy English 13. I enjoy the extra challenge of a college course.

Favorite pro team: I really only follow swimming. I’ll watch anything. I don’t have a favorite team.

Favorite Local restaurant: There are a lot of pizza places. I have to say OIP. I go there all the time. That’s always a good place to go for a fun time. I like their wings.

Favorite TV show: I don’t watch TV so much.

Favorite Movie: Kung Fu Panda II. It’s a kids’ movie, but I like the messages it gives. It’s about pushing through hard times and things like that and staying mentally tough.

Future plans: I’m planning to go to college and swim in college. I’ve narrowed it down to RIT and St. Bonaventure. I applied early decision for RIT and made it in, which is pretty cool. I loved it up there. I did an official visit to St. Bonaventure and checked out their swim team and their programs. It was great up there, too.

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