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Sandy Journal

Sophomore breaks school record in first meet

Dec 10, 2018 04:33PM ● By Ron Bevan

Jordan’s Josue Quispe set a new school record in the backstroke, finishing the 100-yard race in a time of 58.10 seconds. (Ron Bevan/City Journals)

By Ron Bevan | r.bevan@mycityjournals.com

One year ago Josue Quispe knew nothing about Jordan High School and Jordan knew nothing about Quispe. Today, his name is in the Beetdigger record book.

Quispe, who recently moved to Utah from Peru, not only broke the school’s 100-yard backstroke, but beat the record by a full second, finishing the race in 58.10 seconds. And he did it as a sophomore in the first Jordan swimming meet of the season.

“It’s quite unusual for anyone to break a school record this early in the season,” Jordan swimming coach Richard Barnes said. “Usually swimmers are just getting back into their styles and continue to improve throughout the year. The old record was set just last January, by a senior. He will probably improve on the record many times before his time is up at Jordan.”

Quispe is one of the younger swimmers on the Jordan team this season. Just 15 years old, he carries himself as a veteran in the pool. He learned to swim and competed heavily while in Peru, winning several different swimming awards. 

“I feel happiest when I am swimming,” Quispe said. “I found peace in the pool and my stress goes away.”

Quispe’s family hoped to move to America for several years. They had to await visas, which came through last year.

“We chose to move to Utah because we had heard the people are nice here, and it is a great place to live,” Quispe said. “We had a good life in Peru, but we wanted more opportunities that you can get in the United States.”

Moving in last spring, Quispe was too late for his freshman year on the team. But he had another problem: a language barrier. Although he knew some broken English, Quispe spoke Spanish all his life and now found himself in a new land with new challenges, challenges he had to find a way to face.

“I don’t have a problem at school with the language difference,” Quispe said. “Teachers are very helpful and I get an interpreter when I take a test. I am also learning more English by being immersed in it.”

“Sometimes he uses an app on his phone to speak to me,” Barnes added. “But we don’t have that luxury when we are in the pool, so other swimmers help him to understand our practice routines. He is a hard worker, and he thanks me all the time after practices.”

But one language Quispe speaks fluently is movement in the water. A natural at the backstroke, Quispe uses his muscle memory from years of perfecting the stroke to glide easily through the water.

“When I am swimming, all I think about is winning,” Quispe said. “I don’t worry about my stroke, just to win. I always think I can get better. I know I can always improve.”