Century swimmer Jack Homme a mentor in and out of the pool
Senior Jack Homme has excelled for the Century boys swimming and diving team over the past four seasons and he has also been very generous with his time as a volunteer outside of sports.
ROCHESTER — It’s been a long time since Jack Homme has been “along for the ride” for the Century boys swimming and diving team. The senior is now the definite leader for the Panthers both in and out of the pool.
Homme and the rest of the Century team will be taking aim at a team championship at the Section 1AA boys swimming and diving meet that begins Friday in Rochester and concludes Saturday at the Rochester Recreation Center.
Homme was a state-meet qualifier in four events as a junior, in two individual events and two relays. He has earned state berths the past three seasons. As a freshman he was part of the 400 freestyle relay team that earned All-America honors.
“I was in a really unique situation when I was in my freshman year,” Homme said. “We had three really fast upperclassmen and they all did above and beyond what anyone else has been able to do the last couple of years. … I would say I was along for the ride.”
His last four seasons with the Panthers have been quite a ride. Homme is primed to earn four more state berths this week, but his impact on the Century program goes well beyond what he has accomplished in the pool. Homme has been an outstanding leader for the Panthers and a great giver of his time away from the sport.
“It's sort of how he does things, without any arrogance or attitude,” Century coach Linda Freeman said.
Homme grew up in a family that is heavily involved in swimming. He has three sisters in high school who are members of the Century girls team: his twin Katie, sophomore Natalie and freshman Sarah.
“I’ve never felt that it’s super competitive, that might be because I’m the guy of the family,” Homme said. “It’s just a lot of lifting each other up.”
Katie and Natalie are currently managers of the Century boys swimming and diving team. During the fall, Jack was a manager for the girls team.
Having a twin sister might have brought out more competition in the two eldest Homme siblings. But they are wired a bit differently.
“She’s more of a Type A personality and I'm a more laid back, chilled one I guess,” Homme said of Katie. “So we kind of balance each other out.”
Homme might have a laid back personality when he’s out of the water. But once he hits the pool, he has a totally different mindset.
“I can be pretty competitive once we’re in the water,” Homme admitted. “I like to say once I dive in, that competitive switch in me gets turned on and I want to touch the wall first.”
He will be going all out during the section meet. Homme will again be swimming in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. His two individual events will be the 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle, a new event for him at this year’s section meet.
Most of the Panthers will be prepared to swim their fastest at the Section 1AA meet. Homme said the state meet is “a reward at the end of the tunnel.”
“We always taper for section,” Homme said. “The biggest thing is doing well in sections to get to state.”
Homme has done his best for the past several seasons to help the younger Century swimmers acclimate to the team.
“Jack likes to mentor the younger team members with compassion and humor and never takes things too seriously,” Freeman said.
Freely volunteers his time
That compassion is very apparent outside of the pool. Homme has spearheaded the Century swimming and diving team’s involvement with the Special Olympics Polar Plunge for the past four years. This year the team raised more than $9,000 to that effort.
“That’s super important to me,” Homme said. “I proposed the idea my freshman year and we’ve been doing it all four years. It’s just a way to give back to the community."
The past couple of years the Polar Plunge has been on the same day as the Big Nine Conference swimming and diving meet. Homme has worked out an arrangement with the organizers of the event to allow the Century team to take the plunge the night before.
“We like to joke that it’s our special sauce, our ice bath before Big Nine,” Homme said. “So that’s been fun. It’s a little unorthodox because we’re jumping in the lake at seven at night and it’s all dark. But it’s still fun and great team bonding.”
He also volunteers with Inheritance of Hope , which works to support families facing the loss of a parent to a terminal illness. He has gone on legacy retreats, where families with a parent with a terminal illness take trips around the country.
“(I) enjoy just making the kids feel loved because it’s very difficult to lose a parent,” Homme said.
Homme, like his sister Katie, intends to swim in college and he has been in contact with a number of coaches. He is still undecided and has a number of factors to weigh, regarding his decision. He is a strong student, has been an Academic All-American and has a 3.97 grade-point average. He plans to major in nursing.
But first he hopes to end his senior season with the Panthers on a high note, both at the section and state meet. He is part of a Century squad that won the Big Nine Conference meet for the third time in four seasons. The Panthers are looking for a first section title in his tenure after having a pair of runner-up finishes.
“I’m so proud of my team this year,” he said. “I think we’ve done a great job.”