Isaac Acosta was born to run.
Even in the dead of winter, between the cross-country skiing and the athletics season, Acosta is consumed by running. Not a day goes by when the Columbus Community High School junior doesn’t think about running, dreams of competing outdoors, finds new ways to stand out from the competition, and wants to get better every day.
With snow and ice on the ground and freezing temperatures, Acosta decided to think outside the box and find a new way to keep in shape and perhaps hold your own against other runners when the track and field season started on Jan. March begins with the opening day of the exercise.
Acosta is trying to stay ahead of the competition by swimming for the Muscatine High School boys’ swim team this winter. Acosta becomes the first Columbus student to swim under a sharing agreement for Muscatine.
Acosta has the time of his life in a new sport while staying in shape for the upcoming track and field season.
“I’m very excited to be part of the team,” said Acosta during a break in the last Grayhound Invitational by the pool at Burlington High School. “Swimming is very different from running. I thought it might be the same. No, it uses your whole body. Everything. It’s also very mental. You get tired. You run out of breath, everything. It’s all mental.”
Acosta is already making great strides in the pool. He walked 2 minutes, 36.37 seconds in the 200 yard freestyle, 1: 11.66 in the 100 freestyle and 1: 20.53 in the 100 back. He also competes in several Muskies relay teams.
“He’s convinced himself that this type of cross-training is good for him when compared to a lot of winter running that puts a strain on his muscles and bones,” said Judd Anderson, Muscatine Boys’ swim coach. “He’s getting better. He’s got to learn all the little nuances of competitive swimming, like the turns and starts and things like that.”
“My favorite strokes are freestyle and back,” said Acosta. “The back is my favorite because I can breathe all the time.”
Acosta has had a breakthrough season in cross country. Acosta was number 1 on the team for the entire season, helping the Wildcats qualify as a team for the state meeting for the first time since 2005. Acosta finished 36th in Class 1A with 17: 51.1 and helped the Wildcats to 14th place in the team race.
With his self-confidence and enthusiasm at an all-time high, Acosta wanted to continue this dynamic in winter. But with the prospect of being shut down and closed for four months, Acosta had a plan.
“I didn’t think it was going to happen, but I told my trainer (Columbus Cross Country trainer Steve Riley) that I wanted to swim and there was no opportunity in Columbus,” said Acosta. “We’re a top school. We’re small. We don’t have that. I realized that maybe Muscatine was the closest. My coach contacted (Anderson) and they spoke. I emailed him and he accepted me. “
Joining the Muscatine swim team required sacrifices from Acosta. He spends almost an hour and a half a day driving to practice and back. This time increases to three hours on days he trains in the morning.
For Acosta, a self-taught swimmer, it was all worth it.
“It’s about 40 minutes from my house. I get really tired I have to wake up and leave at 5:30 and then come back to school. Then after school I go back to afternoon training, “said Acosta.” I only learned to swim recently, probably when I was 10 or 11 years old. I didn’t know how to swim when I was younger. I learned to swim I taught myself to swim. Then I became a lifeguard and now here I am. “
“He’s an interesting young man. He comes from Columbus Junction, driving at least 30 minutes a day and comes in for some morning exercises, “said Anderson.” It goes very well with it. He has a very sociable personality. He’s not shy or shy. He has never competed swimming before. He is a cross country runner. “
Acosta has found swimming to his liking and he makes many new friends along the way.
Acosta hopes the extra hard work will pay off this spring and next fall.
“It’s a great team too. I’m not used to it, but I got to know everyone. It’s nice to be a part of it, “said Acosta.” It helps me mentally and also keeps me in physical shape. I feel good. My body feels good And I still feel good about running. “