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What's Up Magazine

Athlete Worth Watching: Tyler Christianson of Saints Peter and Paul School

Feb 01, 2018 04:19PM ● By Caley Breese
Photography by Dan Phelps

Not many 15-year-olds can say they’ve had the chance to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. However, Tyler Christianson, a sophomore at Saints Peter and Paul School, is not your average 15-year-old.

Christianson grew up in New Jersey and moved to Easton three years ago with his family. He began swimming when he was around eight years old, starting with a summer league team and then becoming more competitive with club. Christianson is a member of his high school’s varsity swim team and swims year-round for the Naval Academy Aquatic Club team.

“I started out with swim lessons just to learn how to swim,” Christianson explains. “I was a pretty competitive kid and I had a lot of friends that were on the swim team that said I should go out for the team. I fell in love with it.”

 

It’s safe to say Christianson has a calling for swimming. He holds the Maryland state record in both the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke for boys’ age group 13 to 14. He’s ranked top 10 nationally for his age group in the 200-meter breaststroke and 400-meter individual medley (IM). As if that’s not impressive enough, he competed against juniors and seniors as a freshman on his club team and ended up winning multiple events at the state championship, which, for him, took place on his home-turf.

Last summer, Christianson competed at the International Coaches Swimming Association (ICSA) in Florida, where he earned some of the best times and was awarded High Point Winner for his group, 15- to 18-year-old boys.

“That was one of the best experiences I’ve had with my team,” he says. “[I just had] a really fun time and went out there and [swam] one of the best meets I’ve had.”

Additionally, this past October, Christianson was one of 48 male swimmers in the nation selected to participate at USA Swimming’s National Select Camp held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Only the top three swimmers from each event were invited.

“It was a great experience,” he remembers. “Training with some of the best swimmers
and the best coaches, and just really taking a lot of what they’ve learned in their swimming careers and passing it on to me. I absorbed a lot of the information and I’m going to take it and use it in my practices. It’s a great honor to know that I’m recognized as one of the top athletes for swimming in the nation. I thought it was such a cool experience and a great honor.”

In December 2017, Christianson competed in the St. Mary’s NBAC meet with his club team. He defeated the Maryland state record for the 200-meter breaststroke for his age group, 15- to 16- year-old boys, which had formerly been held by Olympian Chase Kalisz of Bel Air. Christianson also broke the Naval Academy Aquatic Club records for boys’ age group 15 to 18 in the 100-meter breaststroke, 200-meter breaststroke, and 200-meter IM.  Christianson took part in the boys’ 400-meter medley relay team that also broke the club record. Finally, he broke into the All Time National Top 100 swims for the age group 15- to 16- year-olds with his 100-meter breast, 200-meter breast, and 400-meter IM races.

In addition to all of the hard work Christianson puts into his swimming career, he certainly makes time for his academics too. He holds a weighted GPA of 4.40, is class president, and partakes in various clubs at school. He spends a good deal of his time swimming, practicing 12 hours per week for his club team and three hours per week for high school. For him, he says, social life comes with both academics and athletics.

As far as college goes, Christianson is definitely interested in continuing his career, although he does have a few years before that happens. However, participating in the Olympics is unquestionably on Christianson’s radar as well.

“I’d say that’s one of my long-term goals,” Christianson says modestly. “I have other short-term goals that lead to that, but the Olympics would be an awesome thing.” Christianson is very humbled by his success and gives credit to those in his life who have helped him get to where he is today.

“I feel like I couldn’t have gotten here without my coaches and family,” he says. “Hard work pays off.”