By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, March 29, 2022–Tristan Dons knows what it takes to be successful when it comes to swimming.

The American Heritage Plantation eighth grader made five Junior Olympic cut times in the 100-yard backstroke, 100- and 200-yard freestyles, 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard individual medley at the BB Championships.

And it wasn’t luck for the 13-year-old. It was hard work and dedication.

“I was very happy with five JO cuts,” Dons said. “For me it’s more about improving and if improving means getting JO cuts that’s great.”

Said his Silver Group coach Jack Davies, “Tristan lit the pool up, picking up five new JO cuts at BBs. He brings a steely focus to practice, both in terms of mechanics and effort levels.

“He consistently is leading in his lane, pushing his teammates and looking for every way he can to improve as an athlete. Having moved from New Mexico he has since truly set himself up as a leader in the group and was justly rewarded with a breakthrough finish in February.”

At Junior Olympics, Dons, 13, competed in ten events including four relays. His best individual finish was 17th in the 200-yard backstroke in a best time 2:10.86, dropping 2.52 seconds.

“I know he is looking to continue his growth as a swimmer,” Davies said. “Having a 13-year-old step up the way he has bodes extremely well in this group and beyond as he is still comparatively young, and being able to harness his passion, discipline and work ethic moving forward to the benefit not just to himself, but the training group and larger team around him.”

Dons has been swimming for nearly 10 years. He played soccer and tennis when he was younger but is focused on swimming now. His father was a national-level swimmer when he lived in the Netherlands and started both his sons in the sport.

“Swimming is a way for me to express myself,” Dons said. “It’s a reflection of how I’m feeling day to day. If I’m feeling good that day I tend to swim good and if I’m not feeling good that day I don’t tend to do as normally good as I would.

“It’s a great way for me to cool down especially after school,” Dons said. “My mind is racing and swimming is relaxing for me.”

Dons said swimming has helped him be healthier “having a sport that I am very dedicated to. If I want to be good at this one sport I have to be healthy and in shape all-around. In terms of discipline, it’s helped me with school. I’m not a terrible student, at least I hope not. It’s just a product of what my coaches over the years have taught me.”

Dons said he has improved since training at SOFLO, particularly in backstroke. His biggest meet so far as been Western Zones in the summer of 2018 while he was living in New Mexico. He swam the 50 and 100 butterfly, 50 backstroke and two relays.

His goals for the future are centered around “keep improving,” he said. “I want to have consistent improvement throughout my swimming career whether it’s seconds off the 50 or 1/100ths off the 200. I just want to keep improving and get better as a swimmer.”

Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack.

SOFLO sponsor TYR is a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories and one of the nation’s top companies.

TYR, created by athletes, is named for the Norse god of warriors in Germanic mythology.

Among its male-sponsored athletes are 2020 Olympians Michael Andrew, Tom Shields, Nic Fink, Townley Haas and Jordan Wilimovsky and other elite swimmers Matt Grevers, Maxime Rooney, Jacob Pebley and Ryan Lochte.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com