2-time state champion looking to go out on top | Boys swimming
Last updated 1/19/2018 at Noon
Jackson’s Jonathan Cook is headed south.
Cook, a two-time defending state champion, plans to continue his swimming career at Stanford University in California.
At the beginning of his junior year, Cook started talking to college coaches at some Ivy League schools and other top institutions in the nation.
“As I whittled it down it really just became between Stanford and Harvard,” Cook said.
He decided on Stanford for a number of reasons, including that it is located closer to home and would be less of a culture and weather shock.
“They have unparalleled academics and athletics, both in terms of a facilities standpoint and a coaching standpoint,” Cook said. “It made the choice easy for me.”
Cook added that he’s interested in working in renewable energy and possibly obtaining a chemical engineering degree or a more specific major that focuses on renewables.
Jackson coach Drew Whorley is glad Cook decided on his post-high school plans early.
“I’m just so happy for him, not just that he has the opportunity to go there, but he’s already made the decision,” the Wolfpack coach said. “A lot of kids wait until the spring. He gets to really enjoy this process. The pressure is off. The weight is off a little bit. He can enjoy the ride.”
Cook is the two-time 4A champion in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 breaststroke. Cook set meet records in both events in last year’s finals.
By the time Cook wraps up his high school career, he’ll likely hold every individual school record, Whorley said.
“We’ve never had a guy that’s come in and done what he’s done,” Whorley added. “I definitely recognize what he’s done not just for us as a team and a school but what does for the kids he swims with. (It’s) unique and special.”
All of the Timberwolves benefit just being around an elite athlete such as Cook.
“I think there’s a lot to be said for being able to compete in practice every day with a guy that is good as Jon is,” Whorley said. “His attitude is contagious. He elevates everyone else’s performance in the meets and in practices.”
Cook should have plenty of teammates joining him at the state championships in February. Among Jackson’s state returners are Justin Limberg, Neal Thai, Erik Anderson, Bryan Phung and Edward Engel. In a December dual meet, the Timberwolves recorded state cuts in all three relays.
“I don’t think we’ve gone to a dual meet and got all three in the same meet,” Whorley said.
As a team captain, Cook works with the Wolfpack’s top swimmers. But Cook also keeps his eye on the entire squad and is concerned about developing a good team atmosphere for all.
“It became obvious to me last year that he’d make an awesome coach,” Whorley said. “He’s in touch with all the boys on the team. They really respect him. They listen to him, regardless of what lane they train in. He wears the hat really well.”