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One focus at a time, one stroke at a time: Tim Rizzo soaks in his senior year at Woodbury

Once Tim Rizzo steps on the block, he focuses on the lane in front of him and what he has to do to earn the win. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 3
Tim Rizzo uses a strategy where he looks to his left and right while swimming to determine where his competitors are in the pool. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 3
The top choice for Tim Rizzo is Michigan State right now, and he hopes to study to either engineering or business. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia 3 / 3

It's a consistent routine for Tim Rizzo on a meet day.

The senior swimmer for Woodbury always starts his afternoon with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, eaten around 4 p.m. He gets to the pool or the bus by 4:15 p.m. so he can be early.

Once he gets to the pool, he goes through his normal warmup. Rizzo will be in the water for about an hour, one of the first swimmers to get into the pool and the last to leave.

When the meet starts, Rizzo stands off to the side and waits until his event is called. A typical night has Rizzo competing in four or five events.

Every time Rizzo stands behind the block, he continues on with his routine. First, he puts his goggles on, followed by his swim cap to make sure the goggles don't fall off. Then he stands and looks directly ahead as he visualizes what he needs to do to win that race. Rizzo adjusts his goggles one last time before getting on the block.

Once he steps on the block, everything in the pool goes away and he focuses on himself and his lane.

For the next couple of minutes, Rizzo understands what he needs to do. In his mind, it's a simple routine and he sticks with it every time.

"I love challenging myself every day, whether it's a practice or a meet," Rizzo said. "We have so much fun as a team and it makes me enjoy this sport even more."

Rizzo started swimming at a young age as his mother wanted him to be water safe. He went through the mandatory lessons and began falling in love with the water.

His mother decided to put Rizzo on a club team so he could continued to be challenged. It was a perfect decision. Now, he continues swimming for a club team as well as the high school team.

"I usually don't take much of a break between club and high school because I miss the water too much," Rizzo said. "It's such a fun sport that you don't want to miss anything."

Woodbury head coach Martin Hoven has seen so much growth from Rizzo, and said Rizzo had so much potential at a young age.

Hoven was happy to see Rizzo grow not only in his skills, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Rizzo understands how to take care of his body, while also pushing himself to get better every day.

"Tim wants to get better every day and you see it in his eyes," Hoven said. "Whether it's a practice or a meet, he takes it seriously. He's a leader both in and out of the pool."

The growth as a swimmer and a person has led Rizzo to receiving offers from colleges. For him, it's an indescribable feeling because he would get to compete in his favorite sport for another four years.

He received a handful of offers from schools in the Big Ten Conference, but his top choice as of now is Michigan State. Rizzo said he likes the team and the culture and the educational opportunities at Michigan State. He wants to study either engineering or business.

Hoven is excited for Rizzo and the opportunity to swim at the collegiate level.

"He's worked very hard to get to this point in his swimming career," Hoven said. "It's great to see that hard work pay off and he can continue competing in college."

Even though college is coming up, Rizzo is focused on his senior season. He wants to see this team do the best that it can in the second half of the season.

Rizzo wants to return to the state championships this year and hopes he can go with the Woodbury team. Mainly, Rizzo wants to keep growing every day, so he can be the best swimmer possible every day.

"I can't believe my career at Woodbury is getting closer to a close, so I'm soaking in every moment I can," Rizzo said. "The teammates and the coaching staff have made these years so much fun for me and I can't thank them enough."

Brian Mozey

I am the sports writer for the Woodbury Bulletin and South Washington County Bulletin. I'm a graduate from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Iowa State University and have always had a passion for sports since a young age. Whether it was watching or playing sports, I always knew sports would be in my career. I've been born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis and look forward to continuing to learn more about the Woodbury and Cottage Grove area throughout my time in this position. 

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