It was at the end of his freshman year of high school when Nick Cisco decided to go in a new direction as a year-round swimmer for the Napa Valley Swim Team.
“I just kind of hit that point when I realized I just need to push hard and really workout if I want to achieve my goals,” said Cisco, a Napa High School senior. “You’ve got to work hard every single moment, at every opportunity you have. You’ve got to work on the technique. It’s day in and day out.”
Cisco, who trains and competes with the NVST’s senior group, has had a goal for years to swim in college, and at as high of a level as possible.
On Friday, he signed a letter of commitment with University of the Pacific, located in Stockton. He received a preferred walk-on spot to join the Tigers’ swimming and diving team. He will also receive an academic scholarship from UOP, a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Cisco, 18, a Napa resident, plans to major in political science.
The signing ceremony at Napa Valley College was attended by Cisco’s family, his parents, John and Ellen Cisco, and Nick’s brother, Keoni Cisco. Swimmers and coaches from the NVST were also on hand.
“In recent years, throughout his high school years, he’s developed a much bigger focus, especially when he started to realize that collegiate swimming was going to be in his future,” said Asher Green, the NVST’s head coach, who works with the club’s senior group. “He’s matured incredibly.
“For him to get recruited and invited to compete on their team, I think it’s a great opportunity. Even though Nick has done a lot for us, he has a tremendous amount of untapped potential. I think when he’s in an environment where he is training with 20-year-old men under another high-quality coach and he’s going to increase his work load, he’s going to hit the weight room, I think the sky’s the limit for him.”
Cisco has been with the NVST for 14 years, and has advanced from the instructional program, to age group 1, age group 2 and advanced age group. He has been with the senior group, which consists of high school age swimmers, for the last four years.
“He has certainly developed the mental discipline,” said Green. “Even more than that, he’s maintained enthusiasm. I think he’s only scratched the surface of his potential. I think he’s putting himself in a great position for improvement.
“We’re just very proud of him and how he’s represented our program and what a great example of what 14 years of commitment can do.”
Cisco’s top events are the 100- and 200-yard freestyle, and the 200 individual medley.
His best times with the NVST are 49.50 seconds in the 100 freestyle, 1:46.20 in the 200 freestyle, 2:02.07 in the 200-yard IM, and 2:03.96 in the 200 freestyle.
He holds NVST team records for two relays, having competed on each of the 200 freestyle relay (1:29.83) and 400 freestyle relay (3:17.12) teams.
“When he’s at practice, he gives his all,” said Green, who is in his 16th year as NVST’s head coach. “And at every single meet, he’s always given his all.
“He has good amount of speed, a good amount of power. He’s a very positive guy. And he takes a positive approach toward his performance.”
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Cisco owns the school record in the 200 freestyle at Napa High with a time of 1:47.91.
“He absolutely loves racing and swimming,” said Napa High head coach Will Namnath. “I think you’re going to do wonderful things at Pacific.”
The opportunity to swim in college is something that Cisco (6-foot-1, 165 pounds) has wanted to do for years.
“I’ve always wanted to swim in college. It’s really been my dream, honestly,” he said. “I think UOP is going to be a great place for me to grow.”
Cisco had wins in the 200 free (1:52.98) and the 500 free (5:14.02) in a Big Game dual meet against Vintage last month.
Cisco takes advanced placement and college prep classes, has a 4.2 weighted GPA and is on the school’s honor roll.
He has played the violin since the fourth grade and spent three years with the Napa Valley Youth Symphony.
He has been in the Napa High chamber orchestra all four years and is the concert master. He was second violin section leader as a sophomore and has been first violin section leader the last two years.
It’s a lot that he puts into his day and week.
“I just kind of accepted that it’s going to be hard to do what I want to do,” said Cisco, 18. “It’s very overwhelming sometimes. Time management is key.”
Cisco joins a UOP men’s team that finished fifth at the MPSF Championships in February at the La Mirada Aquatic Center.
“Swimming is all about pushing yourself to the next time and goal,” John Cisco said. “He’s kind of taken that and applied it to his life. It’s been very cool to watch him grow up. I’m really proud of him. He’s a pretty focused kid. He gets a goal and he goes after it.
“University of the Pacific is a good school, a great program. He’s going to have a really good time.”
Nick Cisco graduates from Napa High on June 6.
He is a team captain at Napa High. He served as a captain for the NVST for three years.