Woodstock North co-op's Quinn Cynor already set the bar high last season, becoming the first freshman under coach Ian Shanahan to qualify in two races at the IHSA Boys Swimming and Diving State Meet.
The Woodstock sophomore made an even bigger splash this winter.
In his second year, Cynor again qualified for state and made it to the finals in the 200-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke, placing sixth and ninth, respectively. With his performance, Cynor earned the program's first state medal since Brenden Dougherty and Brian Spittler 13 years ago.
In two years, Cynor already holds six programs records in the 50 free, 200 free, 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 200 individual medley and 500 free. He also helped the team set its top time in the 200 medley relay at the Fox Valley Conference Invitational, where he was named Most Valuable Swimmer for the second year in a row.
For his accomplishments, Cynor was voted 2019 Northwest Herald Boys Swimmer of the Year, as chosen by the sports staff. Cynor also earned the honor as a freshman.
Cynor recently spoke with sports writer Alex Kantecki about his affection for blueberries, hula-hooping, how he gets ready for a big race and more.
What was something you tried to improve on this year that made you successful?
Cynor: I added more underwater work. I worked on my ab strength to maintain speed under water.
What did you do the day after state?
Cynor: I chilled out and did some homework.
If you had a sandwich named for you, what would be on it, and what would you call it?
Cynor: I'd call it the Double Decker Q. It would be a special type of fruit sandwich with blueberries, watermelon and raspberries.
How long can you hold your breath under water?
Cynor: One minute, 30 seconds.
What scares you?
Cynor: My little sister.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Cynor: Learn how to have fun.
Which professional athlete would you like to hang out with for a day?
Cynor: (Golden State Warriors guard) Stephen Curry. It looks like he’s always enjoying himself and looks like a chill dude to hang with. I really enjoy basketball, so that’d be a real fun thing to do with him.
What was your favorite moment from this season?
Cynor: I have two. Definitely the most exciting was when (Woodstock North junior) Nick Phillips won the 100 backstroke at the Mary Landa (invite). Another was breaking the team record in the 200 medley relay at conference.
What sports moment was so huge, you’ll always remember where you were when it happened?
Cynor: I’ll always remember the Chicago Cubs winning the 2016 World Series and staying up late that night. I was doing homework but not really at the moment. I stood for hours watching and hoping.
What is your least favorite race?
Cynor: I’d have to go with the 100 breaststroke. It’s not my best event. It's a very technique-based stroke, and I’m more power and strength. The more you try to power and strength the breaststroke, the worse it goes.
Who is your biggest influence?
Cynor: My family. They’re the ones pushing me to be better, both with school and swimming. They’re always there for me.
What is one food you can’t stand to eat?
Cynor: I can pretty much eat anything, but occasionally I do struggle with spicy things.
What was the best swim you had all year?
Cynor: At the Mary Landa, I swam a 21.39 in the 50 free. As a guy who came from a distance background, that was a very big moment to see that improvement and see how far I’ve come from that distance. I’m able to use that now with the relays and help my teammates.
Do you have a hidden talent?
Cynor: Hula-hooping. I've been hula-hooping since second grade. I actually performed at the school talent show. I can do all sorts of tricks, go from my neck down to my waist, and I can do spins, jumps and go to my knees.
Do you listen to music before races, and if so, what?
Cynor: I don't listen to any music. Instead, I visualize my race and try to focus on very positive thoughts, what I can do to improve from the last time I swam that race.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three things would you bring with you?
Cynor: An unlimited supply of blueberries, my Xbox and my girlfriend, Linda.
What is your favorite thing about swimming?
Cynor: The results and just having fun. It’s fun to see all the training and hard work really pay off. You also get to have fun with the process. All the people you meet and all the places you can go.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
Cynor: Math and science.
What are you looking to improve the most for next high school season?
Cynor: One big thing I’m going to focus on is improving my all-around strokes, but I’m also going to specifically focus on breaststroke a little more. Maybe incorporate new technique or fix up the stroke, and hopefully that will allow my [individual medley time] to go down, and I can see what I can do in 200 IM. And just again with the underwater work, that’s what I’m going to be focusing on for the next eight months.