Update - Steve Sholdra just captured his second state title Saturday night during the 2A State Boys Swimming and DIving Championship in Federal Way.
Sholdra, a senior won his first title in the 200 free with a 1:40.78. The time beat his meet and school record time of 1:41.39.
He defended his 500 free title with a 16 second win; the time of 4:29.10 was a second slower then his prelim time. However the time gave him All-American honors.
Sholdra was also named 2A Swimmer of the Meet; he is the first male swimmer from Renton schools to earn the honor. The first was Hazen girls swimmer Lauren Kaufman last year. The Swimmer of the Meet was established in 1996 by the Washington Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (WISCA), voted to establish a “Swimmer of the Meet” award. The recipient would be the swimmer in each classification who scored the most points on the NISCA Power Point tables for their two individual events in the prelims or finals at the state meet.
Orginial story published in January 2012
Steve Sholdra dons a Renton High swimming cap before each swim meet, but the senior has never once stepped a foot inside the centennial high school.
Sholdra is home schooled, and lives with his parents near Talbot Hill Elementary. According to the WIAA rules for home schooled athletes, his location allows him to swim for Renton High.
The tall, lengthy swimmer has propelled the Indian name back into swimming elite. Last year Sholdra set the first of many school records at the 2A state championships: He swam the 500 free under 4:45 for the first time since Mark Prothero, a 1974 graduate, and was the first state champion since Jason Takahashi won the 100 backstroke in 1995.
“I respect Mark so much,” Sholdra said. “Hopefully when the next Renton swimmer comes up who can break that 500 record, I can be there to congratulate him too. It’s great that he came all the way to state, and I hope I can continue that tradition.”
“Steve is obviously one of the greatest swimmers in RHS history,” said Prothero. “He’s an exceptional young man in so many ways. To do all of the things he does, while training to be a top distance swimmer is amazing.”
Sholdra’s work ethic in and out of the pool has earned him a full swimming scholarship to Fordham University in New York (Atlantic 10 Conference) where he plans to major in International Affairs.
“I'll be interested in following his swimming career and where it goes from here. I know he will be very successful at whatever he chooses to do in life,” Prothero said.
Sholdra is the first Renton High swimmer to receive such a scholarship since Hailey Nance accepted a full-ride to UNLV in 1998.
In the pool he swims three times a day, once in the morning, an afternoon workout by himself and an evening practice with his Renton teammates equaling 10 miles a day, not counting meets.
Sholdra is a long distance swimmer with the Bellevue Aquatic Club currently ranked sixth in the nation by College Swimming.com. Last December he won four gold medals and one silver at the Washington State Senior Short Course Championships. He won gold in the 1000 yard free, 200 yard fly, 500 yard free and the 1650 yard free where he qualified for the NCAA Division I Championship.
“This was a goal I didn’t think was going to happen for at least a year or two,” Sholdra said. “I will continue to push the level as there is always a higher level to achieve.”
Sholdra is just as active outside the pool as he is in it. He speaks fluent Arabic; traveled to Quatar in 2011 as a U.S. Youth Ambassador for One World Now; and participates in The First Tee of Greater Seattle, a program that impacts the lives of young people through educational programs to build character, instill strong values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.
He’ll defend his title at the 2A state swimming and diving championships Feb. 17-18 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Sholdra has qualified for all individual events to earn his second consecutive Ironman status.
Color – Red
Food – Sushi with white rice and cucumber in between heats (quick energy)
Number – 22
Idolize – Parents and coaches
Subject - English
Sholdra’s state leading swimming times as reported by Washington State Swim Coaching Association (with Renton High school records):
100 free — 1, Braden Mitchell, Mark Morris, 49.14; 3, Steve Sholdra, Renton, 49.93 (M. Hendrickson 46.55, 1989)
200 free — 1, Steve Sholdra, Renton, 1:40.78 (set Feb 18, 2012)
500 free — 1, Steve Sholdra, Renton, 4:28.18 (set Feb 17, 2012)
100 back — 1, Cole Avery, Sehome, 53.75; 3, Steve Sholdra, Renton, 57.59 (Jason Takahaski 54.19, 1995)
100 breast — 1, Patrick Gregory, Sehome, 1:02.90; 3, Steve Sholdra, Renton, 1:03.93 (Steve Sholdra 1:00.97, 2011)
100 fly — 1, Steve Sholdra, Renton, 52.47 (Steve Sholdra 52.47, 2012)
200 IM — 1, Steve Sholdra, Renton, 1:59.06 (Jason Takahaski 1:56.17, 1995)
200 free relay - 4th leg Steve Sholdra 1:36.60 (set Feb 17, 2012)