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Jones makes big splash as Aggie

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Tristin Jones during practice Thursday in Tucson, Arizona. (New Mexico State University Athletic Communications Photo)

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When New Mexico State University swimmer Tristin Jones steps onto the starting block for her meet in Tucson, Arizona, on Jan. 5. Her team will be competing against the University of Arizona. After the meet, they will compete in a tri-meet against Rice University, Cal Baptist and Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.

Tristin Jones (New Mexico State University Athletic Communications Photo)

Halfway through her freshman season, Jones’ path has been unconventional in the fact that she is on the team as a contributing member.

She doesn’t know where her brother, Cavan, a Drive Chip and Putt champion get their athletic ability, given the fact that her mother never played sports. Jones acknowledges her mother, Heather, is a bookworm, graduating high school with a 4.0 GPA. Her father, James was a high school athlete.

“Neither one of my parents thought they would ever have athletically competitive children,” Jones said. “We were always doing 4H when I was growing up.I did that until I was about 14 years old, then I had to pick and choose. My brother, Cavan, started doing First Tee and his natural talent took over. He started to blossom. It was so cool we got to go to Augusta and watch him. We woke up at 5 a.m. to watch him play. I’ve never been prouder.”

Jones was homeschooled, until the last two years of high school when she did a dual enrollment at ENMU-Roswell. Roswell does not have a swim team, which forced her to swim Caprock for a club team. Jones won state in the 100 backstroke, and four runner-up titles in both the 50 and 100 freestyle.

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“I think club swimming at state is a lot harder than high school state meets,” Jones said. “The competition is definitely more serious.”

Another startling fact was that Jones fell in love with swimming when she was in eighth grade. Most competitive swimmers are already in the pool and have private lessons by the time they are in eighth-grade.

Jones remembers her first competitive event she was on a relay team in the Milkman Triathlon, her team ended up winning which lit a fire into her that has never burned out. Jones is so excited by swimming that her goals are for this season and the next three years.

“Five months after I started swimming I knew that I loved it,” Jones said. “I knew that I wanted to go to college and swim.” I actually went through a season about two years ago around this time where I was exhausted because I had to play so much catch up with swimming. I started swimming as a sophomore and I had to play catch up to all of the kids my age.”

She felt at a disadvantage because her competition had been swimming since they were eight years old. Her competitors knew the races, their bodies, and Jones felt like she had no idea what she was doing.

“If you haven’t been competing since you were eight years old,” Jones said, “you are so far behind.”

I swam for two years and I was so mentally and emotionally exhausted. The only thing that kept me swimming was that I had this desire to be a collegiate athlete and to be the athlete I knew I could be.”

One of Jones’ favorite memories of competing in high school, was when she swam against the same opponent every meet. Jones acknowledges that her competitor, Natasha Kinney. Kineey destroyed her and everyone she faced. Little did Jones know Kinney would be her host on her recruiting visit, and they would be teammates.

Heavily recruited she narrowed her choices down between South Carolina University and New Mexico State University. Jones visited the Aggies first and loved the campus, coach and her future teammates. After visiting the Aggies she took a visit to South Carolina.

“I wasn’t thrilled with South Carolina,” Jones said. “I didn’t like the team as much and I didn’t click with the coach. I flew home from South Carolina on Monday, arrived home at 9 a.m. and I think I called coach Pratt (Rick) at 10 a.m. and committed to swim at State. My trips were back-to-back weekends, and I had no doubt in my mind whatsoever.”

A typical day in Jones’ life during the season is her alarm goes off at 5:25 a.m. every day. Her roommate and her walk to the pool and are in the water by 6 a.m. and they stay in the water for an hour-and-a-half. They do a dry land workout for 20 minutes, which is some cardio, and abdominal workout. The Aggies believe the stronger a swimmer’s core is the faster they will be able to swim. After that, they are off to breakfast and class. Jones tries to keep her schedule to where she is done by noon and she can take her favored power nap for an hour to two hours before heading back to the pool. The team will swim from 3-5 p.m. and then it is off to study hall on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday’s, she will have class all morning, and then lift weights from 2-3 p.m. and then swim form 3-5 p.m.

“I’ve seen Tristin for a while,” New Mexico State coach said. “She was traveling to Las Cruces with her younger sisters training with the local club team the las Aquatic team. I’ve seen her swim for a long time she has a great feel for the water. She’s very graceful when she swims, she’s tall and athletic. For us (NMSU) we thought she had some raw talent and the potential to be a pretty good swimmer for us.”

Jones had a personal best against Northern Arizona University this season in the: 50 freestyle of 25.49; and in the 100 freestyle 55.77; and the100 backstroke: 1:04.41

“The 50 freestyle is my favorite event,” Jones said. “but when it comes down to it my body and abilities better suit the 100 freestyle. My goal as an athlete is to qualify for the NCAA meet before I graduate. It would be a dream come true.”

Jones and her team beat their conference rival, Northern Arizona this past weekend. For winning that meet coach Pratt allowed the team to race in their technical uniforms.

“There is no other feeling than to be in the water with your racing suit on,” Jones stated.

Coach Pratt thinks with Jones’ continued work on her conditioning and her getting stronger it will make her a faster swimmer. The Aggies have her training for explosiveness and power in the weight room.

“She’s a hardworking kid,” Pratt said. “She’s a great person and comes from a great family in Roswell and we are really excited to have her on our team. I think the future is really bright for her. The first semester is the hardest one, but she has adapted well and she is doing great. I think it is going to take her a year to really develop and get stronger. I think her best parts of her swimming is down the road a bit. I still feel like her times are going drop way more.”

Jones wants to swim until her college days are over with and then head to the next phase of her life and go to Physical Therapy school. Her major as of now is biology, but in the spring she will switch it over to kinesiology. Jones wants to be able to apply to a Physical Therapy/ Doctorate program. Her ambition is to come out with her doctorate degree in three years instead of four.

“That’s my ultimate life goal right now, Jones said.

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