The Sentinel

Northgate welcomes Russian Olympian, who sets new swim records for school and state

Sophomores+Ryan+Crostwaite+and+Maddie+Chappell+study+in+math+on+May+25+with+junior+Alexei+Sancov%2C+an+Olympian+who+set+several+records.
Sophomores Ryan Crostwaite and Maddie Chappell study in math on May 25 with junior Alexei Sancov, an Olympian who set several records.

Sophomores Ryan Crostwaite and Maddie Chappell study in math on May 25 with junior Alexei Sancov, an Olympian who set several records.

Ian Villers

Ian Villers

Sophomores Ryan Crostwaite and Maddie Chappell study in math on May 25 with junior Alexei Sancov, an Olympian who set several records.

Katie Morris, Staff Writer

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While some students watched last summer’s Olympic games from the comfort of their couches, one student witnessed the games first-hand and participated.

Alexei Sancov competed against world class champions in the Olympics. He moved with his family to the Northgate community from Moldova, a small country between Ukraine and Romania.

“We had an opportunity to move to America and we took advantage of it. In America, there are many opportunities to achieve something good. I heard that Northgate was one of the best schools in the area,” said Sancov, a junior, about his choice of high schools.

Sancov has put much hard work into his training for his swim career. He couldn’t believe the news when he found out he was accepted into the Olympics.

“I was shocked. I understood that that was a small step in a great future for me,” said Sancov.

Sancov started swimming 13 years ago and prepared for the Rio Olympics for two years. In Rio last summer, Sancov swam the 200-yard freestyle for the country of Moldova. Sancov placed 34th, but he was ready for 14th or 15th place.

“I trained three times a day and went to the gym every day. All attention was

on the practices. I’m not happy with my performance in the Olympics. I expected that I would be in the semifinals. I was preparing for this and it was possible, but a little trouble before my race prevented me from doing it,” said Sancov.

Unfortunately, Rio itself wasn’t as fun as Sancov was hoping. “It was dangerous to be in such a criminal city as Rio, but it was boring,” said Sancov.

Sancov’s success didn’t stop in Rio. On May 20, he set a state record in the 200-yard freestyle at the California Interscholastic Federation meet in Clovis. Sancov served as the anchor of the 400-yard freestyle relay team including sophomores Zach Ledesma, Connor Seip and Andrew Rodriguez. In addition, Sancov won NCS twice. He also broke two meet records in the Diablo Athletic League, the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle.

Teammate and friend Andrew Rodriguez swims with Sancov on the year round Terrapins team and Northgate.

“Swimming with Alexei both on the Northgate and club teams is an experience,” said Rodriguez. “When he first joined the team I was in awe to be training with an Olympian. The more time we spent together, the closer we got and we became good friends. It’s amazing to be racing against an Olympian who’s my teammate but mostly my friend.”

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Northgate welcomes Russian Olympian, who sets new swim records for school and state