James Sanchez: Swimmer and Scholar Extraordinaire

Personal profile on student and competitive swimmer James Sanchez


(Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

James Sanchez of Central Kitsap was named Swimmer of the Meet. He won the 200-yard individual medley in 1:58.87.

by Kalen Madan, Reporter

As anticipation and the smell of chlorine fills the air, 17 year old James Sanchez, a senior at Central Kitsap High School,  and his rival swimmers from Gig Harbor, North Kitsap, Olympic and South Kitsap, line up in alternating lanes at the Olympic Aquatic Center. The competing swimmers ascend the starting blocks, awaiting the ringing of the bell, signaling them to plunge into the wavy blue chlorine-infused water below.

 Although Central Kitsap placed 3rd at the 2019 Swimvitational, Jan. 12, Sanchez scored a total of 239 points, earning him the Swimmer of the Meet award. 

The meet starts before the day, preparing prior is essential to having the best performance you can have”

— James Sanchez

Swimming has been a part of Sanchez’s life for about 11-12 years. Swimming has played such a big role now, that it is an important part of who he is.

“When I was young and I wanted to surf, my mom told me I had to know how to swim first,” says Sanchez. “Because I have swam for many years, swimming has been a big part of my childhood.”

Huge amounts of dedication to the sport have made it his primary interest, and the activity he hopes will make him stand out when applying to Universities. Balancing the demanding practices of swim, along with the homework load of four AP classes has been the key to Sanchez’s success as a student athlete.

Unlike most high school students, Sanchez’ day is dominated by swim. His daily routine includes waking up, cleaning up, and heading to school, followed by three hours of swim practice. After swim he then goes home and completes any homework he has, sometimes staying up as late as 2 a.m. to get everything done. A demanding routine for sure, but one that Sanchez deems worth it.

“From waking up to washing my face, it is always the same routine to look my best for the day,” says Sanchez.

Even when dealing with an arduous schedule based around a demanding swim routine of three hours a day in Bainbridge, Sanchez still has time to support his friends. 

James Sanchez and Johnny Willems pose in their ugly Christmas sweaters

Johnny Willems, a 17 year old senior at Central Kitsap High School, has known Sanchez since the 7th grade.

“James is kind hearted, supportive and hilarious,” says Willems. “Seeing him is one of the highlights of my day. He is always making me laugh. James is ambitious, hardworking, friendly, caring for his friends, and a great guy overall. He has kept me going with laughter, and is always there to talk to me when I am going through a tough time.” 

Sarah Powers, 17 year old Junior at Central Kitsap High School, believes “things important to James are definitely supportive friends and probably his parents, because they do a lot for him.”

Merging the goofy, fun loving personality with the ability to buckle down and work hard when it counts has made him a student liked by many students and teachers alike.

Sanchez is currently looking to attend college in sunny California, believing it is a wonderland of opportunity, and earn a degree in biomedical engineering, or something similar in the medical field due to his love of science. His mother, a cardiologist, inspired his passion for the medical field, leading him towards success and happiness.

“When I was younger, I wanted to only become an engineer. Now, I have incorporated medicine and desire to go into Biomedical Sciences.”

Sanchez’s passion led to him joining student organization HOSA, also known as Health Occupations Students of America.

Outside of the medical field, Sanchez is a part of Key Club and National Honor Society, and earns volunteer points with these organizations by being involved in his community. A majority of these points come from swim related events, like meet set up, further showing how ingrained swimming is in Sanchez’ life.

“Because I am in Key Club and National Honors Society, I always volunteer for my community when I have time,” says Sanchez.

James Sanchez’s senior portrait. Courtesy of Manette Sanchez

Only time can tell where Sanchez goes, but with his strong character, likability, and academic strengths, he has many options to choose from in his future.