Jake Marbach

Jake swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco, plus the length of the Golden Gate Bridge (almost three miles) to raise money for a program that helps refugees learn how to swim.

Veritas Prep senior swimmer Jake Marbach keeps a pretty busy schedule, but nothing stood in his way as he received the 2021 USA Swimming Scholastic All-American Team award in September.

The award recognizes swimmers who excel in the classroom and in the pool. To be considered, swimmers had to achieve a grade point average of 3.5 for the 2020-21 school year and swim in a 2019 Winter Junior qualifying time in any individual event between September 2020 and August 2021. The qualifying times were 50-free: 20.79, 100-free: 45.39, and 100-fly: 49.59.

With the award, Jake is now considered an elite athlete. His GPA is two points off of a 4.0, and he practices almost 20 hours a week. He attributes his successful schedule to good time management and study skills.

While the award does not mean Jake is on an actual All-American “team,” he said that many of the best swimmers in the nation are named All-American, and he is excited to be among them.

“I was so happy. I spend a lot of time training every afternoon and then come home and complete several hours of homework,” he said. “It’s nice to know that the demanding work does not go unnoticed.”

Jake has been in a swimming club year-round since he was eight years old. He started at Phoenix Swim Club and this year is swimming for J Force Swim Team. When Jake was younger, he participated in soccer, cross-country and track. If he’s able, he plans to play golf or run track in the spring.

“I did not want to be on the swim team, but my mom wanted me to learn at any early age. I wanted to quit because it was cold swimming outside in the winter, but she said I could not quit until I turned 16. Before that happened, I realized I like swimming, so I continued with the sport,” Jake said. 

Three mornings a week, Jake trains with his team. After school and on Saturdays, he attends a two-hour workout and more swim practice.

“The yardage in practice varies. Sometimes, we will swim up to 4,000 yards a day, then other days might be a speed workout, so we swim less yardage, but at race pace, which is how fast we swim in meets,” Jake said.

Jake has traveled to Texas and Washington D.C. to swim in sectional meets throughout his athletic career. This December, he will head back to Texas to swim in the Junior National meet.

“Racing is my favorite part; there is a great adrenaline rush. Swimmers are pretty nice people, and you get to know kids from other teams. Everyone is encouraging and congratulating,” he said. 

Jake has collected many awards, including defending as the Division 3 state champion for the 100-free race this year. 

He was D3 champion for the 50-free in 2018. Last year, Veritas Prep’s swim team was the D3 champion in the 200-medley and 400-freestyle relay.

On the academic side, Jake has earned the Academic Excellence Award three years in a row, meaning he received an A in a particular subject area from 2018 until now.

In the future, Jake plans on attending college and majoring in mechanical engineering. He hopes to continue swimming while trying to fit in time for eating, sleeping and playing piano, which are his hobbies when he’s not in the water. 

Jake will receive a plaque and certificate from USA Swimming, the national governing body for competitive swimmers.