A Shark in the Classroom and in the Pool: Zach Johns

A Shark in the Classroom and in the Pool: Zach Johns

By Daniel Patrick Healey IV

A typical high school student wakes up to their alarm at 7 AM. If they miss it, they are late for school. A typical swimmer wakes up around 5 AM. If swimmers miss their alarm clock, they are late for practice. Swimmers often follow a very strict swim practice schedule regimen, with a practice almost every morning and afternoon of the week. Student swimmers often burn out of this demanding lifestyle, but student athlete Zach Johns gets a thrill out of it.

Zach Johns is a swimmer, a really good swimmer.

Johns swims for the Carmel Swim Club Team, a team that runs in the top-ten in the nation for club teams. He is surrounded daily by some of the top swimmers in the state, possibly the nation.

The rigor that comes out of swimming for a top club also affects Johns’s daily life outside of swimming. On a typical school day, Johns has to wake up at 5 AM. He does this so he can be ready to go to a 5:40 practice at the pool of the local Carmel High School. Morning practice ends at 7 AM, which gives Johns until 8:15 to get to school.

Johns attends University High School in Carmel, IN. At around 8 am, Johns pulls into the parking lot of University in his red hand-me-down Honda Civic.

When school ends at 3 PM, Johns packs up his bags and is back on the move in the Red Honda Civic by 3:20 PM. He is now on his way back to Carmel High School for his second practice of the day.

Two a day practices seems like they would be stressful for anyone taking part in it. Johns finds that having two practices a day is actually quite helpful.  Johns commented, “It really sets a schedule so that I don’t have time to fool around or do anything other than swimming or school or homework and sleep.”

As a swimmer, a day filled with food and nutrition is extremely important for Johns. “If I don’t eat enough then I won’t be able to perform well in the water,” he said.

Unlike a majority of Americans, Johns does not need to worry about his caloric intake for the day due to the amount of exercise he does per day. When Johns walks into school in the morning, you often see him with McDonalds or an Iced Coffee. If you eat lunch with him, you know he is a big eater. A favorite of his tends to be the popular Nutella and Peanut Butter sandwich. Johns doesn’t just bring one sandwich for lunch — he brings two.

As well as eating, Johns also enjoys his fair share of baking. He is often found in his kitchen baking a batch of Zach’s Famous Cookies or a cake all for his own delight. He doesn’t have quite the famous Michael Phelps diet, but for someone his age, his diet is quite extraordinary.

For Johns, family is incredibly important, but he is also very important to his family. He has a mother and a father, Melinda and Steve, as well as an older sister, Emily. His sister Emily gets a sense of relief out of the success that Johns has had in swimming. “[Swimming] has given him a sense of purpose in his life, which helps everything, keeps him motivated, productive, and gives him confidence. And as his sister there is nothing I would want more for my brother,” said Emily.

With Johns’s senior year in school coming to an end, another chapter in his swim career is also ending. Johns will end his time at the Carmel Swim Club where he has spent the last 12 years. His current coach, Coach Chris, has noticed what Johns has been doing over the past years. “He has only begun to tap into his potential and I think going forward, he will improve tremendously,” said Coach Chris. Though a chapter in his swimming career is about to pass, it is far from over. Johns has recently signed on to swim another four years at Depauw College.

“I’m very excited. They are a great group of guys and I think it will be a lot of fun because they really stay in line with what swimming is all about. They are really academically driven, but they also really want to have a great time,” said Johns.

For Johns, the future is unknown. He doesn’t know where he will end up. For Johns’s family and friends, they know where he will end up. They know how committed he is. With the person that Johns is, everyone that knows him knows that he will be successful; he has that rare drive and passion that not everyone is given. Zach Johns will make it far in his life, both in and out of the pool.

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