Zach Sipic Swims With A Passion
By Keith Knepp
NAPPANEE — Like most parents of two school-aged children, Zach Sipic’s parents are busy people.
Aside from their own work and personal schedules, they spend many of their evening and weekend hours making sure the fourth grader and his seventh-grade sister, Savannah, are where they need to be with the right sports equipment or other relevant gear packed and in the car.
This is especially true for Zach, a student at Woodview Elementary in Nappanee. In the fall and spring, he busies himself with youth league football and baseball, respectively. He’s also a key member of one of the best elementary school robotics teams in the world, the Woodview Eaglebots.
But, if you ask him, he’ll tell you his true extracurricular passion is in the water as a member of the WaNee Waves swim team. It’s his favorite for a pretty good reason: He’s pretty darned good at it.
At the recent 2023 USA Divisional Swim Meet, the 10-year-old had qualifying times for the state finals in a whopping 10 events. Unfortunately, he can’t participate in all the races for which he qualified since the guidelines only allow him to enter six events at the state competition, which will take place March 17-19 at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis. Although he’s capable of swimming all four strokes at a variety of distances, he says his favorite race is the 50-yard freestyle, calling it “the most fun.”
“I’ve been swimming for five years,” said Zach, who practices at NorthWood High School four days a week. “I like being in the water a lot. I see a lot of Olympic swimmers and I want to be like them when I grow up. That makes me want to practice more.”
“He keeps us busy,” noted his mother, Jade. “Sometimes flyers from school get ‘lost’ because he would want to do them all. Luckily we’ve started to pare some things down and he’s kind of focusing in on a few things. But he really is competitive, and I think what he likes about swimming is looking at the lane next to him and figuring out how he’s going to beat him.”
Zach and his family moved to Nappanee in 2017 from suburban Chicago. His father, Zoran, a talented artist and musician, is a native of the Windy City, while his mother grew up in Nappanee and graduated from NorthWood, where she now serves as the dean of secondary education.
In school, Zach says his favorite subject is math. “Sometimes its a challenge, and I kind of like that,” he said. “I like robotics because it’s also a challenge. There are always problems and we have to learn how to fix them.”
The Indiana State VEX Robotics competition takes place the weekend after swimming state, so Zach will have back-to-back weekends competing for state championships in Indianapolis.
“He’s a smart kid, talented, competitive, just like me,” said his dad with a chuckle. “When he has his mind set on something, he’ll keep doing it until he gets good at it. His recent interest is in the Rubik’s Cube. He mastered it in a day after a lot of YouTube videos. He can do it in a couple of minutes now. When he puts his mind to it, he can be good at pretty much anything.”