The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Human Fish: Stefan Tadic

Image taken from Dana Krilich’s email

By walking in the halls at Niles West, it is hard to tell what the lives are like of the people you pass by. Have you thought twice about the hidden talents that are filled in the seats of your class? Well, a special freshman made their mark this swim season, the record breaker Stefan Tadic. 

Tadic broke the 500 Freestyle Freshman/Sophomore record set in 2009 by Konner Scott at Sectionals with the time 4:43:32. Scott’s original record had a time of 4:50.62. The record has not been broken in fifteen years. The year the record was broken was the year that the new record breaker was born. Tadic expresses the emotions he felt when he realized that he had broken a school record. 

“At first, I didn’t even think about the record. Before the high school swim season started, I had already broken the record by 6 seconds, but since I swam that time during club season and not high school season, it didn’t count. The point of my record-breaking swim was to qualify for state, not even to break the record. A few minutes after my race, I walked up to coach Torres shortly before the 400 Freestyle relay and surprised for a second I said, ‘Woah I just broke the 500 free record.’ Immediately after the race, I felt so happy that I qualified for state, it wasn’t even about breaking records for me, although that was a nice bonus,” Tadic said.

The freshman began his love for swimming at the age of eight when he started competitive swimming. Way before he was eight, his parents taught him how to swim as an essential survival skill, but it did not take long for his talent to be seen. Tadic expresses why the sport he fell in love with at a young age has always stuck with him.

“I love the constant challenge of improving my times and technique. It’s a harder sport than most people think. The part that makes it feel easier is the friends and support you get along the way. Along with the constant challenge, the camaraderie of the team really is amazing,” Tadic said. 

Tadic is fortunate to be on a team with some of his childhood family friends, always having someone to look up to and trust. One of his close friends, junior Vanya Canak, describes Tadic as a fun and hardworking person since as long as he can remember.

“I have known Stefan since I can remember. Knowing Stefan’s hard work and dedication he puts a lot of time into swimming because he wants to be the best. At a young age he accomplishes [lap] times that many people cannot reach in their whole career and it is interesting watching him grow this season as a swimmer and person,” Canak shares.

As he still has three more years of high school to go, the freshman has goals set that he wants to achieve.

“My plans for the next three years are to make it to IHSA State Finals and possibly even medal. I’m very excited for what’s to come especially because the 500 freestyle is a very upperclassmen-dominated event– very rarely do you see freshmen and even sophomores going to state for the 500. Outside of athletics, I plan to focus on my schoolwork and especially extracurriculars,” Tadic said. 

Tadic’s commitment to his sport and dedication for his goals translates to his mindset and actions outside the pool. Through tough practices, his team describes him as someone that pushes the team to work hard and get going and gets everyone pumped up before swim meets.

“He always likes to race people in practice and has a really competitive personality. He definitely likes winning and is hard to argue with as he is very straightforward,” junior Aleks Piljevic said.

As for the remainder of his freshman season, Tadic has a few immediate goals that he would like to meet.

My next immediate goal is to improve my 500 freestyle time. For me, it’s never been about the records as much as it has been the process of breaking those records. I believe that If I just focus on what’s important, the records will be there,” Tadic said. 

Stefan will be joining his teammates senior Zach Guerrero, junior Aleks Piljevic, sophomore Ethan Chung and sophomore Nick Dao at IHSA State this weekend. Good luck to the boys swim team!

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