This year alone, junior Keith Gill broke three school swimming records in addition to being a regional champion and qualifying for state. The Panther Press asked the athlete a few questions about his passion for the sport.
Q: When did you start swimming and why? What about it has made you continue?
A: I learned how to swim at the age of 2 because my family owned a boat and my mom was afraid of me drowning. The reason that I stuck with it was that it is a very individualized sport so the blame is always on me and not someone else. I was also not very aggressive when I was younger, so contact sports were out of the question.
Q: Describe your practice routine.
A: My practices consist of a morning and afternoon session from 5:30 to 7:00 and 3:30 to 6:00 respectively. There’s no particular reason for this other than I need as much training as possible when it fits into a school schedule. I am currently changing what I do in and out of practice in hopes of having a better season in the future.
Q: How do your accomplishments in swimming affect your attitude?
A: My attitude in swimming is very different than most people would expect in that whenever I feel that I had a poor season, I am more motivated to do better for the next season. I am most definitely a sore loser which plays a part in the fact that I do bounce-backs from my shortcomings.
Q: Do you have any other interests/hobbies that conflict with swim?
A: No, I don’t have anything outside of school and swim; and, amazingly, they don’t conflict with each other at all. And I just sort of play by ear that which I want to do next, and prioritize things based on situations and what is expected of me.
Q: How is swim going to impact your future? Will you continue swimming after high school?
A: Swimming is a pillar leading to my future in that it isn’t whether or not I will swim in college, but to where. I am at a level that swimming could very well provide me with a full ride, despite the fact that I have respectable academics as well. I’ll have to see how well I do in college, but I have aspirations to compete at NCAA and hopefully final early in my collegiate career.
Q: Which of this year’s accomplishments are the proudest of? Are there any goals that you haven’t met yet?
A: Truth be told I’m not very proud of any of them because I haven’t improved from last year. I have plenty of goals that seem incredibly distant, but still within reach, so I’m taking advances towards the realization of my goals by doing things my coach would disapprove of, calling it reckless, but I am doing what I must so that I even have a chance at being what I consider a success.