Woodstock’s Quinn Cynor made a big splash this winter, becoming the first freshman for 15-year Woodstock North co-op boys swimming coach Ian Shanahan to qualify in two events at the boys swimming and diving state meet.
Cynor, 15, was named the Fox Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year and earned co-Most Valuable Swimmer honors at the FVC Invitational, where he set the program record in the 100-yard butterfly (51.79 seconds). The next week at sectionals, he swam the 500 freestyle in 4:38.71, qualifying for state and setting another program best. Cynor also qualified in the 100 butterfly.
No other local swimmer qualified for the state meet in an individual event.
Cynor’s quest to become the sixth Woodstock North co-op swimmer to place at state was not meant to be, however, as he finished outside the top 12 in both the 500 free and 100 butterfly. Missing the finals in both events will make him work even harder, Cynor said.
For his accomplishments, Cynor was voted 2018 Northwest Herald Boys Swimmer of the Year, as chosen by the sports staff. Cynor becomes the first Woodstock North co-op swimmer to win the award since Brenden Dougherty and Brian Spittler won in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Cynor recently spoke with sports writer Alex Kantecki about his favorite places to swim, his many nicknames, having a squirrel for a pet and more.
How did you get into swimming?
Cynor: When I was about 9 years old, my parents just recommended it for me, and I tried it on the Woodstock Dolphins. I became pretty accomplished pretty fast. ... It just took off from there.
What did you first like about it?
Cynor: It’s more of an individual sport, so I didn’t rely on other people. In swimming I can really focus on myself and just take off.
What are you going to remember most about your freshman season?
Cynor: Definitely the fun I had with my teammates. We made a lot of jokes ... and it was just a good time.
Who’s your funniest teammate?
Cynor: We have two twins on the team: the Mathews brothers, Austin and Mason. They like to shout out, “Oh yeah!” a lot, and Austin almost won the wings-eating competition at a fundraiser held by our school at Buffalo Wild Wings.
Who is your biggest hero?
Cynor: Trevor Tucci. He’s an AWD (athlete with disabilities) swimmer and will be a Paralympic swimmer. He’s just a really cool guy. He’s fast.
Do you have any nicknames?
Cynor: Quinn is a nickname for Quinton, actually, but I’m also called “Quinn the Fin.” My coach calls me “The Pitbull,” and a lot of times I’ll be called “Quinny.” On (the) Sage YMCA (club team) I’m called “Pink Suit” because I wear a pink suit.
What professional sports team has the best uniform?
Cynor: The Seattle Seahawks when they went to the Super Bowl in 2014. Especially with their visors on. They just look beast.
What’s your favorite pre- or postrace meal?
Cynor: I’ll go to Portillo’s and get a chopped salad and a large lemonade.
What’s the coolest place you’ve ever visited?
Cynor: Back in the seventh grade for a school trip, we went to Ecuador. We did a lot of cool things there. We saw how they lived, and it was a really good experience.
Do you have any favorite pets or animals?
Cynor: I have quite a bit of pets because my mom is a veterinarian. I would say our favorite pet is a squirrel we had at one point. It was the only one.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
Cynor: I’m a math and science guy. I’m just really good with numbers.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Cynor: Definitely have fun, and don’t get in a wings-eating competition with Austin.
What’s your favorite movie and TV show?
Cynor: I really like the Marvel series, just all of those. “Black Panther” was a really good one.
Who is your favorite superhero?
Cynor: Ironman because he’s always funny and really sarcastic.
Which teammate inspires you?
Cynor: Omid (Babakhani) and Connor (Dolezal) on Sage YMCA. They’re two guys that have been putting in a lot of work, and we’re working on getting to nationals. ... We’re all very close.
Who is you favorite professional athlete?
Cynor: “Sweetness.” Walter Payton. It’s said he had the one of the hardest drives of anyone, and he was a class act. He accomplished a lot.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Cynor: A lot of times, they’ll stand us up on the block, after “Take your mark,” and that really bugs me, because you don’t really race as fast after that. Another one – because I’ve always been the youngest – is I’ll be ready to go and my teammates will come up, grab my forehead and wiggle it around. They’ll mess with me.
What is your favorite event to swim?
Cynor: Probably the 4x200 freestyle relay. It’s a combination of a relay and the 200 free, which I like. It’s the longest relay there is, and it’s really exciting when it’s close.
If you could have dinner with three people from any time in history, who would they be?
Cynor: Jesse Owens. Barack Obama. Joel Embiid.
If you played baseball, what would be your walk-up music?
Cynor: “YMCA” by the Village People. Sage YMCA is a big part of my swimming career, and it’s a big part of my life.
Where’s your favorite place to get pizza, and what do you get on it?
Cynor: Lou Malnati’s. I’ll eat anything, but sausage and cheese is my favorite.
Do you have any pre-swim rituals?
Cynor: About 30 minutes before each event, I’ll have an Arizona Green Tea for energy and a banana for the potassium to not get cramps.