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June 23, 2021

Swimming: Bonnet making waves

In last year’s Monterey Bay League Finals, Zander Bonnet finished in second place in the 100 backstroke by two-tenths of a second. That moment provided even more fuel for the already motivated Bonnet to get faster.
“Being that close makes you want to go out there and take it the next time,” said Bonnet, a San Benito High sophomore. “In swimming, even if you don’t get the best time, it makes you that much more motivated to improve on that time. There is always a guy next to you that will be better than you, but that pushes me to want to be the best.”
The 6-foot-4, 170-pound Bonnet is intent on fulfilling his potential, and he’s off to a great start. In a dual meet against Monterey last week, Bonnet won the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley in 1:03.32 and 2:17.15, respectively. Even though Bonnet hasn’t established any personal-records (PRs) this season, he’s confident that he’ll be able to achieve them soon.
“I feel like my form is good right now,” he said. “The coaching staff has done really well this year helping us. I think I’ll take another couple of seconds off my events at MBLs.”
Bonnet usually swims twice a day, once in the morning for the team practice and again in the afternoon for the club program San Benito Aquatics. Balers coach Fred Latimore said Bonnet is a natural leader.
“Right off the bat Zander showed he was a leader on the deck,” Latimore said. “He really helps manage workouts in the pool on a daily basis. He’s helping guys get organized on what comes next. That shows his leadership qualities because I’m not asking him to do that—he’s doing it on his own.”
Bonnet comes from rich athletic bloodlines. His father, Jim, was a Community College All-American swimmer at Chabot College in Hayward. Bonnet’s mom, Julie, was part of Arroyo High of San Lorenzo’s 4×100 relay track team that advanced to the CIF State Championships. Bonnet has only been swimming competitively for three years, having grown up playing roller hockey.
However, Bonnet has already excelled in the pool, and he’s looking to take plenty of more seconds off his times in the next couple of years.
“Swimming is something I put a lot of time and effort into,” he said. “I try to work as hard as I can in the pool, even on days when I’m not feeling the best. Those are the times you have to tell yourself to push through it.”
It’s that type of attitude that has Bonnet on the brink of potentially doing some special things.
“He’s got so much more time to do great things here at San Benito,” Latimore said. “I really expect him to flourish. He understands that the more distance you put in and the harder you push yourself, it will pay off because this is really a mental sport.”
In addition to the 100 backstroke and 200 IM, Bonnet also swims on the team’s 400 free relay and 200 medley relay. Bonnet wants to go under a minute in the 100 back and 2:10 or lower in the 200 IM. He also hopes the 400 free relay team hits a qualifying time for the Central Coast Section Championships.
Bonnet is also a standout on the water polo team, and he loves both sports for different reasons.
“I like water polo for the team aspect and the physicality,” he said. “I like swimming for the feeling you get when you achieve a personal best time or when a team wins a relay. When you do well in either sport, it’s a great feeling.”

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