By Dave Boehler
for The Beacon
Krystof Linhart’s perception of Wisconsin should not surprise anyone.
“They got like a lot of cheese factories and a lot of beer,” the Sheboygan South swimmer and foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic said.
The 18-year-old senior says he likes the people here because they are more open, friendly, positive and helpful.
The weather is the same, but the food is not.
“I feel like the quality of the food is better in my country,” Linhart said. “For example, I feel like milk in my country is better than here. And the cheese is better in my country, too. It has a better taste. In my country, we usually aren’t eating like pizzas and burgers. We usually eat meat, rice, potatoes, some vegetable, some sauce.”
Simply put, the food is not as healthy here.
“But it’s not bad,” he said. “It’s a lot of fried food.”
Swimming will burn off any cheese curds or brats Linhart encounters, although his practice schedule here is far different than back home.
In the Czech Republic, Linhart attends school from 7-10 a.m. and then practices with his club team until 1 p.m. or so.
He returns to school until a little after 3 and then practices again until 6 or 7.
“From what he tells me, he was doing like 16,000 meters a day,” Redwings’ coach Peter Toutenhoofd said, “which is just insanity. Over here, the model of swimming is a bit different. We obviously don’t have time to get those kind of yards in here. And so we’re doing more training of focus swimming based on exercise thresholds and scientific principles of swimming. So a lot of times he’ll get out and tell me he’s not tired. We’ve only been swimming together for like five weeks, so we’re still trying to find that balance.”
Some of South’s practices, however, begin out of the pool.
Linhart came here with the perception that every practice is held in water.
“So that’s a difference, but at the end of the day, swimming is swimming,” Toutenhoofd said. “I coach a lot more on techniques than what he’s used to. The little things, I call it the details of swimming. He’s able to power through a lot more yards, so we’re trying to get the best of both worlds when it comes to that stuff.
“I’ve got a pretty sweet coaching staff, so it’s definitely fun to pick everyone’s brain and see what is best not only for him but the whole team.”
One look at the foreign exchange student, and most would think basketball should be Linhart’s top sport.
He’s at least 6-foot-6, according to Toutenhoofd, but says he has been swimming all of his life because he tried it and liked it.
Linhart competed on South’s cross country team and baseball is a possibility in the spring.
He also attended Brewers’ and Badgers’ football games.
“I liked the Badgers’ game better, because there was more action,” Linhart said. “Football is more attractive to watch.”