Renton grad wins gold at international meet

Steve Sholdra, Renton High School graduate, swam for the Indians in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

He is a USA Swimming Open Water Nationals medalist in the 5K and a USA Swimming Winter Nationals finalist in the 200 fly recently participated in the Challenge International de Geneva in Switzerland.

He won gold in the 200 fly and a silver in the 400 IM.

Sholdra also placed in two other events — fifth in the 200 IM and sixth in the 200 free.

“I never thought I’d make it onto the podium, let alone a gold or silver medal,” Sholdra said.

Sholdra attended Fordham University in New York City on a full swimming scholarship where he was an Atlantic 10 Conference two-time record holder, four time gold medalist, six-time medalist and six-time Fordham University record-holder, according to Connie Sholdra and Renton High School. He graduated in 2016.

Sholdra said his favorite swim so far was placing at USA Swimming open water nationals 5K in Florida. He discovered you could carry pool skills over to ocean swimming.

He currently swims for the New York Athletic Club and coaches for Badger and Fordham Prep swim teams.

Sholdra said it’s really fun these days, coaching and competing, seeing a new world of swimming. He said it’s amazing to see the talent of young swimmers.

When he was younger, he could name a few post undergrad swimmers, but that world is changing now. He said there’s more club teams like New York Athletic Club that are seeing healthy, young swimmers who’ve finished undergrad but still love the sport.

He attends graduate school at Columbia University, as well as working there full time as a planning and administration coordinator. He leaves his home in the Bronx at 4:15 a.m. everyday and gets back around 8 p.m., later if he has classes. It’s busy but he said every minute is worth it.

Born and raised in Renton, Sholdra also swam for the Bellevue Club Swim Team. His parents, Connie and Steve, have lived on Talbot Hill for more than 40 years.

In 2011, he became the first Renton athlete to win an individual state title in 16 years when he won the 500-yard freestyle, shattering the state record and earning All-American consideration along the way. He also holds five Renton High records, the 500, 100-breast and 100-fly, the 200 free and was in the record setting 200 free relay, according to Renton swim coach Diane Pavelin.

The Seattle Times covered Sholdra in 2012, writing that he “has been a big reason Renton is back on the map in boys swimming after a long dry spell.”

Sholdra said he’s still friends with the people he met swimming in his hometown. And he stills wears his Renton Indians shirt, over on the East Coast.