Faces: Ben Donner

By Beacon Staff

Ben Donner’s favorite event is the 400-yard freestyle.

“It’s such a grueling event,” said the junior at Columbia Falls High School. “Even if you have a bad race, you’re proud you finished it.”

In a race that long, the mind has a tendency to wander, and Donner’s usually strikes a chord with some classic rock ‘n’ roll.

At state last year, during his 5:11.21 freestyle swim, “I sang ‘Paint it Black’ by the Rolling Stones,” he said. And leaning back, reciting the lyrics in his head, he added, “It was in rhythm with the kicks.”

During the 100-yard fly, Donner found the pounding jungle-drum style of “Down With a Sickness,” by Disturbed ringing through his mind.

“Fly is a killer event,” he said. “I just power my way through.”

Outside the water, Donner said he admires Eric Clapton.

“His music is for every single emotion,” said Donner, who added that it is not just his playing style but his ability to overcome addiction and obstacles with which he is impressed.

Donner admits that he has some challenges his next year in the pool.

“I don’t have the strongest start,” he said. “I’m looking to better in the 400. That means focusing more during practice this summer.”