Tuesday, January 27, 2009.
The swimming pool. A nice place to get some exercise or just cool down. But for Lakeside senior Eric Chiu, it's pretty much his second home, though it didn't always look that way.
"I didn't really wanna swim when I was little. I didn't really like it. But now I've come this far," said Chiu. "I mean, it's like when every kid goes through a phase of let's try basebalI, let's try soccer. but eventually swimming stuck."
And it's a good thing it did, because now Chiu is one of the best in the state. He's already won a state championship and this season, he has the fastest time in the state so far in two events, proving that he's getting better every day.
"He's always shown flashes of being really good," said Aiken-Augusta Swim League Director Adam Byars, "but wouldn't ever really ever put it together consistently for a period of time. But this year, he's really done a great job."
And that consistency and hard work has paid off for Chiu. After high school, he's headed to Georgia Tech to swim. And while his goals may seem small.
"Well when I get to Tech, of course I want to improve," said Chiu. "I just can't wait for the team atmosphere. I think that will really help me develop as a swimmer."
His coach and others are hopeful that we will make an immediate impact at the next level.
"When he goes in as a freshman at Georgia Tech, I think he could really be a player at a conference level," said Byars. "At ACC's, I think he could be a top-eight finalist in multiple events as a freshman."
And like every American, Chiu knows who Michael Phelps is.
"I've seen him at a couple meets. I haven't swam in those meets but I've seen him."
But who knows, maybe in 2012, Chiu and Phelps will no longer be strangers but instead be teammates.