Kevin Skenes has a few goals he wants to accomplish before entering college next fall, not the least of which is making the qualifying time to be on the Georgia Institute of Technology men's swim team.
"My time is not yet high enough to qualify," the Lakeside High School senior said. "But I'm still trying. I'm not going to give up."
Jeff Rout, Kevin's coach with Greater Augusta Swimming, has no doubt his student will qualify for the team.
"He is a very dedicated swimmer, as are his teammates, and he is working very hard to try and qualify for the Georgia Tech men's team," Rout said. "I am confident that he will obtain this goal. My only wish is that Kevin had joined the team many years earlier!"
Kevin began swimming when he was 7 or 8 years old and has been with Greater Augusta Swimming for three years. Aside from swimming with that league, Kevin also has been a member of the Lakeside Panthers' swim team since his freshman year.
During the past season, Kevin has qualified with state times in four events, allowing him to participate in state competition this past month. The four events for which he qualified were the 200 Individual Medley, the 100 Freestyle, the 500 Freestyle and the 100 Breaststroke. However, he was able to compete in only two state events, so he chose to go against other swimmers in the 100 Freestyle and 100 Breaststroke competitions.
"I've competed at state for three years and this was my fourth appearance," said Kevin, the son of Ron and Linda Skenes, of Evans.
Kevin Skenes is a member of the Lakeside High swim team and Greater Augusta Swimming. He has posted record times in four events, qualifying him for state competition. His goal is to become a member of Georgia Tech's swim team.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Kevin placed fourth in the 100 Breaststroke event. He and his teammates placed fifth in the 200-yard medley relay in the team event and seventh in the 400-yard relay event.
Swimming has been a passion of Kevin's for many years. He devotes more than 15 hours a week to practice and attending meets and serves as a coach with the CSRA Swim League for the Cambridge-Stephens Point summer swim team.
"When Kevin first tried out for our team, I sat him down and told him that he had two options. Option number one was to swim with the Gold Group for one year, and then move up to the Platinum Group - our top group," Rout said. "The upside of this option was that he would be able to train with the group fairly well with the skills that he had at that time. The downside of this option was that he would be swimming with kids two to three years younger than him, and that when he did move up, he would basically be starting over again because the jump from the Gold to the Platinum is the biggest and toughest on the team.
"Option number two was to swim with the Platinum Group from the start," Rout continued. "The upside of this option was that he would be swimming with his peers, and at the end of the year his skills would be much further ahead of where they would be had he swam with the Gold Group. The downside of this option was that for the first four months of practice, he would be getting lapped regularly, he would not be able to finish most sets, let alone the practices, and he would have to drag himself out of the pool everyday. To Kevin's credit, he chose option number two."
Kevin's dedication goes beyond the pool: The National Honor Society member also serves as chairman of the Lakeside High Honor Council and as vice president of the school's Spanish honor society. He also has been named a National Merit Scholarship Program finalist. As for his plans after high school, Kevin will attend Georgia Tech, where he will pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.
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