5 Questions With a Trials Qualifier: JT Ewing

By Rich House

JT Ewing is from Falls Church, Virginia and grew up swimming at Tuckahoe Recreation and has established more than two dozen team records that still stand, going back to 2013 as an 8 & Under. He attended Gonzaga College High School and swam for PVS Clubs The Fish and more recently Arlington Aquatic Club. In his senior year at Gonzaga (2021-2022) he earned Washington Post All-Met 1st Team: “Ewing was the area’s best long-distance swimmer and bolted to a 4:26.69 at the National Catholic championships.

This Spring, JT completed his Sophomore academic /redshirt Freshman at NC State, where he and his team captured the Men’s ACC Team title. JT swam the 200 Free (12th, 1:34.39), 100 (15th, 46.75) and 200 Backstroke (8th, 1:42.82). This is the 2nd time JT will attend Olympic Trials as he first qualified for the 2021 Wave 1 Trials, where he placed 27th overall in the 200 Backstroke. In 2022 he competed for the US National Team at the Mel Zajac Jr. Invitational, where he placed 3rd overall in both the 100 and 200 Backstroke.
He qualified for the 2024 Olympic Trials back in May 2023 and achieved his lifetime bests in June 2023 at the Phillips 66 National Championship where he placed 9th overall in the 200 Back with a time of 1:57.71. He also qualified for the 100 Back at the same meet, clocking a time of 55.33.
You can watch JT compete at the Trials starting on Sunday, June 16th for the 100 Backstroke Prelims, and Wednesday, June 19th for the 200 Backstroke Prelims. Coverage gets underway on Saturday, June 15, at 6:30 p.m. ET on USA Network. Qualifying heats will air live on Peacock with same day delayed coverage each day on USA Network.

Photo Courtesy JT Ewing

Here’s the 5 Questions:

RFTW: Which is more fun- Summer League or College meets…and why?

JT: It is difficult to choose between the two as they are so different and differently fun in many ways. College swimming brings a lot of pressure and stakes fueled by decades-long rivalries. This top level competition makes it fun in a different way where you get to perform when the lights are brightest, but summer swimming at Tuckahoe will always have a special place in my heart. There was nothing more fun as a kid than Saturday mornings every week during the summer going and swimming, cheering, and having as much fun as humanly possible. Even coming back last summer and competing was great, and without the joy for swimming summer swimming gave me, I don’t feel as if I would be the swimmer and person I am today. 

RFTW: What is your favorite hype song/band/artist and favorite chill song/band/artist?

JT: My favorite hype artist in general is NF, but my go to hype song is Lose Yourself by Eminem. The main artist I listen to for chill music is Kanye West. 

RFTW: What is your ‘go to’ meal before a meet?

JT: I love Chipotle, and for years, it has been my lunch meal between prelims and finals of big meets. I would say right before a session, though, I like to make myself a bagel with peanut butter, banana, and honey. 

RFTW: What is the best advice you’ve received from a coach?

JT: “The man who loves walking will walk further than the man who loves the destination.” Finding enjoyment in the journey and process of getting to your goals will not only help you achieve your goals but also allow you to find fulfillment in what you’re doing. Especially as swimmers get to their high school and college years, it can be difficult to get through times when you feel as if you’re not improving, or even when you are improving, you can reach that goal and feel empty. When the process is the fulfillment, racing is but a means to show the world your abilities. 

RFTW: Who has inspired you in your career (list 2, a swimmer & non-swimmer)?

JT: From an athlete perspective, Phelps was always the pinnacle of the sport and someone I admired. As a kid, I had a DVD of his 8 golds from Beijing in my car, and I would constantly watch his swims on road trips. He achieved more than anyone thought possible in the sport and even now I enjoy learning from youtube videos or content he puts out on his mindset and tools he used to become the greatest of all time. 

My mom inspires me every day. From when I was little, every 4 a.m. practice, she woke me up with a huge smile on her face and cracked jokes all the way to practice to lighten the mood. Her constant positivity and willingness to be the best version of herself not only for herself but also for others has and will have an everlasting impact on my life and swimming career. 

RFTW: Bonus question What advice can you give to current age groupers looking to achieve their goals in swimming?

JT: Referencing the part above on advice from my coach, focusing on the process to get to your goals is key. And beyond that, I think it’s important to know that whatever you’re trying to achieve, it is possible. I recall many times throughout my career when, in my mind, I saw what other people were doing or looked at my lofty goals and was struck with fear that I may not be able to do it. It is always possible. If you are willing to put in the work and focus on every detail that will take you a step closer, it is possible. One step at a time, and anything is possible. 

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