Ferrero continues record-breaking frenzy

Autumn Burin

It has not taken sophomore standout Gianni Ferrero long to make a huge splash for the Grand Valley State University men’s swim team.

Ferrero set six freshman records in 2012 and has picked up where he left off so far this season with varsity records in the 100 free (44.83), 200 free (1:38.90), 500 free (4:28.98), 200 medley (1:50.56) and 400 medley (4:00.70), with plenty of opportunities yet to come.

The Idstein, Germany, native may be fairly new to GVSU, but he is certainly no stranger to the lap pool.

He said he remembers watching the summer Olympics on television with his older sister when he was just six years old. She was completely mesmerized by the swimming events and decided to try it for herself at the local swim club.

She brought her little brother along, too.

“I was only six at the time, (so) I didn’t really know what to do,” Ferrero said with a laugh. “My mom said that I should give it a try, and if I didn’t like it, I could do anything else I wanted to. So I did, I tried it, and it was exactly my thing.”

He has been swimming past the competition ever since and eventually made his way to the German Olympic trials.

GVSU head coach Andy Boyce said Ferrero can handle the tough competition at the NCAA Division II level in the U.S. because of these experiences.

“He is used to big competitions because of his impressive performance and participation in (the German Olympic trials),” Boyce said.

Ferrero said his goal this season is capturing a GLIAC title with his Laker teammates.

“Of course it isn’t just up to me,” he said. “Both the men’s and women’s main goal this season is to (win) the conference title. I am confident that we can do this.”

Although he has plenty of personal accolades to talk about, his proudest achievement so far this season came when his team won the meet against Michigan State University on Nov. 8.

“The whole performance was completely insane,” he said. “The rest of my team would agree.”

When it comes to his decision to swim at GVSU, Ferrero gave all the credit to his head coach. He said Boyce was the one who convinced him to make Allendale his new home.

“He was the only one I was talking to,” Ferrero said. “When I came here, I didn’t know the school or the people very well, so I really only talked to him. He made me very excited to join the team.”

Boyce has nothing but good things to say about the selfless sophomore, and he said Ferrero performs best when he is surrounded by his teammates. Ferrero always seems to be cheering on his fellow Lakers.

“He is extremely hard working and is very motivated to do his best,” Boyce said, adding that he knew Ferrero would be a huge asset to the team as soon as he saw his work ethic and raw speed.

He said the best is yet to come.

“Ferrero was sick at the national championships last year,” Boyce said. “We really don’t know how fast he can go, and we are excited to see that.”

Ferrero has a reputation for displaying a collected demeanor when approaching the starting block.

The calm before the competition comes naturally to Ferrero, who doesn’t need a pre-race ritual to perform at his best.

“I listen to music to pump myself up,” he said. “I always take a few minutes to think about the race and focus. I think it through, about what I have to do and what I have to do (in order to win). Music is the big thing that helps me.”

He and his teammates will return to action tonight at the Calvin College Invitational in Grand Rapids, Mich., at 6 p.m.