Birthday: February 17, 1997
Hometown: Oak Hill, VA
College: University of Texas
Coach: Wyatt Collins, Eddie Reese
The clichés are as timeless as sports themselves: “It’s never too late to be great,” and “You’re never too old to learn something new.” Perhaps there’s a reason such sayings stand the test of time.
John Shebat surely doesn’t take issue with these sentiments.
As a high-schooler, John found himself at a 5 a.m. swim practice swarming with 8-10 year olds. He was back to the drawing boards, ready to commit to the sport after a five-year hiatus. This wasn’t his usual summer league, however–he wasn’t about to “grab a ring pop and leave” after a lap or two. This time, it was serious.
I decided that I wanted to swim for my high school team the summer after my sophomore year. Before that, I had literally done everything but swimming. I played basketball, baseball, football–I decided I wanted to take another stab, so I went back to my old team and started training again. I ended up swimming better than I thought I would. I made nationals, and I decided to make something out of it. I remember thinking, ‘Let’s see if we can use this for college.’
Not only did John end up swimming collegiately, but he found himself at the University of Texas, home to over a dozen Division I Swimming NCAA championships. Under the infamous Eddie Reese’s tutelage, John became the team’s marquee backstroker, ending his college career with five NCAA golds.
“I had an amazing training group at Texas where everyone pushed each other. You swim individually, but you train as a team and rely on teammates, yourself, and coaches.”
This support system has shaped John equally as a person, swimmer, and teacher. Having begun his career later than most elite swimmers, John possesses unique empathy for participants, remembering his time in their shoes very vividly.
I know what it’s like to be burnt out and not be the best. I tell participants to stick with it, and you’ll catch up to them. Fitter and Faster gives me the opportunity to relay everything I’ve learned in my life, and communicate that to kids all over the country. A lot of kids don’t focus on technique early on, and that’s important. Fine-tuning at a young age can really make a difference, but I don’t just like teaching stroke. I want to teach kids how to love the sport and not think about it super competitively at all times. You have to find the fun in it, too!
Evidenced by a degree in mechanical engineering, John has made a habit of cultivating his curiosity, something he brings with him on deck. A self-proclaimed “student of the sport,” John has a thorough understanding of body and stroke mechanics, one that he is able to articulate and impart on even the youngest of swimmers. With his sunny personality and southern charm, John makes swimmers forget they’re learning, tapping into an intrinsic love for the sport.
Do you want to learn from one of America’s best? Sign up for a clinic with John today!