By Blair Guilfoile
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Family is the word that comes to mind for TCU senior swimmer Sebastian Arispe when asked about his time at TCU.
Arispe has two homes. One is over 3,000 miles away in Lima, Peru. The other is in the pool at the University Recreation Center at TCU.
He has a lot to show for his last few years. He holds two school records, he’s graduating early and earned a marketing degree at TCU’s Neeley School of Business. Overall, he’s had a remarkable collegiate career. But when you talk to Arispe, you can tell the thing he cares about the most is the family he found on the TCU swim team.
“I’ve made some of my best friends here throughout my four years here,” Arispe said. “They’ve always been there for me.”
Arispe enjoyed a lot of big moments and achievements throughout his four years at TCU. He holds two school records in the 500 Freestyle and the 800 Freestyle Relay. But when you ask him what his favorite memory is, there is no mention of record breaking or personal performance. It is all about his teammates.
“One of my best friends, Thor [Stenfjord], we always swim the exact same races and we always swim together,” Arispe said. “We always train together, and we always do weights together. We are always about the same times.
“This last meet we swam the 500, which is the one we are the closest in. After the race he came up to me and gave me this big hug and they took a picture of it and it was super, super cool. It was really nice knowing that he was aware that it was our last time competing against each other.”
Arispe’s respect for the team is reciprocated by his coaches and teammates.
“He really brought the team together,” Stenfjord said. “He always spent time with underclassmen and got the freshmen involved in the team, which is really healthy for the team dynamic.”
While Arispe’s talent made him a valuable member of the team, it is his character that leaves an impression on the program even after his time at TCU.
“He is always doing the right things,” coach Richard Sybesma said. “Things, not just thing. I don’t really know how to explain that, but he is just one of the classiest individuals on the team.
“He is just a really good swimmer and a really, really good person.”
Arispe grew up in Lima, Peru. Youngest of four, he was the first to move out of his house when he enrolled at TCU in 2010. Arispe started swimming when he was three years old. By age six, he swam competitively for the local club team. His first meet was the 25 Freestyle.
“In Peru, the ocean is right there,” Arispe said. “So, it is pretty important that you know how to swim. I don’t really remember my first time swimming, but supposedly I loved it from the moment I started.”
Outside the water, Arispe is your typical college student. He enjoys playing soccer with his friends or going to the movies. But inside the TCU Recreational Center, Arispe is all about swimming.
“I’m like a freak when it comes to meets,” Arispe said. “The night before I take a really long shower and stretch, which is kind of weird, I know. The day of the meet, once I get to the pool, I stretch even more before I warm up. I always do the same warm up every single time. I listen to the same songs every single time. They are upbeat and they get me dancing. I dance before meets so I can get the stress off my body. “
Following his December graduation, Arispe returned home to Lima, Peru. There he plans to continue his swimming career and will train for the 2016 Olympic trials. Public relations or brand image marketing may also be in Arispe’s future.
“I would like to work for an international company so I can apply everything I have learned from studying here in another country,” Arispe said.
Arispe says he will really miss his home at TCU.
“If I had the chance to do it all over again I would. I have a family here. I had a great time here and I am sad to leave. It has not kicked in yet.”