Hunter swimmer wins 100 backstroke state championshipApr 03, 2022 08:24PM ● By Greg James
Angel Nunez-Ianza and his coach, Ray Huff, celebrate his 100 backstroke win. (Photo courtesy of Hunter High School)
Angel Nunez-Ianza, a senior at Hunter High School, won a swimming state championship and elevated the boys team to sixth place overall.
“This is a win that I have wanted since I was a freshman,” Nunez-Ianza said. “It made me feel really happy.”
He finished first in the 6A 100 backstroke. His time was 51.87 seconds.
The 100 yard backstroke consists of four trips across the pool. Halfway through the race he had built nearly a 1-second lead. The second place finisher closed the gap just over .4 of a second, but he held on for the win.
“I go as fast as I can. Go all out from the beginning,” he said.
His dream almost did not happen. Two days before the event, he started to get sick. At times he had a fever and chills that he thought were going to derail his attempt. Then moments before the final his expensive swimsuit broke. He had 10 seconds to fix it or change to a new one.
“I was just getting ready to race when it broke. My teammates helped me run off the pool deck, covered me up and helped me change suits to get back out there,” he said. “After it was over I told my dad that I could not feel my legs (which he said is normal with the backstroke.)”
Nunez-Ianza also placed third in the 50-yard freestyle.
Last year he finished second overall in the 50 free and seventh in the 100 backstroke.
His parents said “they were super emotional” watching their son accomplish his goal.
“My parents and family have always supported me. They are always asking about my times and watching my meets. When I was done my dad asked if I gave it my all,” Nunez-Ianza said.
He started swimming when he was seven years old and living in Venezuela. His family was full of competitive swimmers and they loved to travel to the beach. He started to swim competitively on the school team in the first grade. They moved to Utah to be with family when he was 14 years old and he joined a club team here.
“Swimming can be expensive. I tell my friends only to join the team if they really like swimming,” Nunez-Ianza said.
He is exploring opportunities to swim competitively after high school. There could be opportunities at Texas A&M or the University of Utah.
“My Hunter coaches have been very supportive. They are great people and really love the sport,” he said.
Nunez-Ianza has three older sisters, one attended Hunter High school also. The head swim coach at Hunter is Ray Huff.
His favorite swimming strokes are the free and backstroke. He has never learned the breaststroke.
“Backstroke is my favorite. Training taught me how to stay on course and it has become something I don’t even think about. It feels natural to me. I hate the breaststroke. My sister tried to teach me, but I did not like it,” he said.
High school swim season ended in February and the long course club season has started. He plans to continue to improve and practice to get better.