One of the fastest and most decorated swimmers in Linfield history, 2010 graduate Dominic Rieniets set school records in the 100-yard butterfly, the 50 and 100 freestyle, and the 800 freestyle relay, winning multiple Northwest Conference championships. He was honored as the NWC Men’s Swimmer of the Year his final three seasons and went on to compete at the NCAA Division III Championships each of those years. He earned honorable mention NCAA All-America recognition in the 100 butterfly.
What are your academic interests?
I earned my degree from Linfield in Studio Arts, with minors in Creative Writing and Visual Culture. I tried the electronic arts major on for size briefly, and found myself in over my head in the computer sciences, but fell in love with the art side. I quickly made the switch, but it was later in my college career than I realized. In truth, I had to finish 3 credits for my major after I walked (through commencement exercises in 2010), so technically, I walked with three minors and no major (I did finish, and Linfield was kind enough to send me my degree).
You recently were selected to receive the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. What are your options for graduate school?
I am so excited to have been named a NCAA Postgraduate Scholar, I can't even find the words. I happened to stumble onto the scholarship after Coach Gary Gutierrez pointed me to the NCAA's website for Graduate Scholarship opportunities. Professor Lee Bakner was gracious enough to help me coordinate the application process, which involved three other Linfield professor recommendations and what seemed like a lot of hoops at the time. I am beginning Academy of Art University's Illustration master's program in the fall, and now the NCAA has agreed to help me get there.
Looking back on your swimming career, what are some of your best memories and experiences?
Some of my best experiences revolve around the team we built. Committing to swim training hours is committing to keep that team as your family. We seriously knew too much about each other, but there's no way around it. I stay in touch with a lot of them. If I had to pick one memory, it would be Mark Carder gathering the team around him in the hotel between meet sessions to tell one of this ad lib bedtime stories. He tells the best stories, and I could see the wonder and confusion in the underclassmen's eyes; I laughed myself to sleep.
Have you continued to swim since graduation, either recreationally or competitively?
Since my last Division III national-level competition as a Linfield swimmer, I have all but retired from competitive swimming. I try to swim recreationally since it is such a great workout, but it is so hard to find my motivation without a team. My last competition was the Linfield Alumni meet on campus. It's nice to feel like my muscles remember how to swim, even if my lungs are forgetting.
What makes Linfield a good destination for a prospective student-athlete to attend?
Linfield has a great athletics program, and what drew me most to the Linfield swim team over other school is that Gary strikes a balance between work, school, and play. I chose a Division III program so that academics would be my focus into which I could weave swimming without being stretched thin. That's not to say balancing sports and education isn't a big time commitment, but each had a little give for the other. I actually managed time better when so much of it was committed to my sport.
You were an NCAA All-American and a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection. How did you achieve the right balance between pursuing a degree and competing at a high level athletically?
I made some good habits in high school, which carried me most of the way, and then surrounded myself with good people. My roommates all four years were swimmers who were smart, talented, driven and not afraid to give me a poke when I needed it. We got each other to practice at 6 a.m. and pushed one another in practices. They told me to stop slacking when I was avoiding a paper and we played hide and seek when one of us was feeling burned out.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I have a true knack for forgetting to plan out my life, which drives my girlfriend crazy. She's a planner. I don't know where I see myself in 2023, but hopefully in a position to make a living of my passion for art while having as much fun as I did as a swimmer at Linfield.