Athlete of the week: Central Davidson's April Kearns
Mon. January 28, 2013 at 11:31 p.m. | By Jason Queen
Central Davidson's April Kearns (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)
Central Davidson swimming coach Chad Hench says he doesn’t have any flashy female swimmers.
But when sophomore April Kearns and her teammates are together in the water, their steady contributions are plenty good enough.
Kearns won the 200 IM, finished second in the 100 fly, then helped earn a second and third in two relays to help the Spartans pile up enough points to win the school’s first Central Carolina Conference championship in five years Thursday at the Salisbury YMCA.
The Spartans don’t capture a ton of gold medals at most of their swim meets. But, using the formula that garnered NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson five straight Sprint Cup titles, Central uses consistency to earn victories.
“We don’t get a lot of first places,” Kearns said. “But when we get second, third, fourth, that adds up to a lot of points.”
With a roster full of swimmers, the Spartans have strength in numbers. But all of those numbers would be useless if there was no talent.
“We have a pretty big team,” Kearns added. “And we have a lot of decent swimmers, we may not have, like Coach Hench said, the flashy swimmers. But we have good swimmers.”
That has been apparent in the bigger championship meets this season. While West boasts Grace Baird and East hails Marina Moore, two of the best individual swimmers in the state, the Spartans rely on stockpiling points from second place on. If they pick up a win or two here or there, that’s just icing on the cake.
“It’s a team thing,” Kearns conceded. “It’s not an individual sport, it’s a team sport.
“We were hoping to win (the CCC meet),” she said. “We didn’t want to get too comfortable and know we were gonna win, but we were hoping for a win.”
Certainly, Kearns’ performance made a huge difference. But she got plenty of help from her teammates, who can now set their sights on Friday’s regional meet in Huntersville. With a strong showing there, a handful of Spartans could move on to the state championship meet soon after.
Kearns is looking forward to riding this wave of momentum as far as it will take her. “We’re hoping some of us can make it to the states,” she said.
Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.