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Aiken-Augusta swimmers ready to swim at next level

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A solid run of success in the past few years for Aiken-Augusta Swim League has coincided with the progression of a strong 2012 graduating class.

Lakeside's Katherine Huff, Aiken's Steven Kekacs and Greenbrier's Kate Clark swim year-round for the Aiken-Augusta Swim League. The have enjoyed much success on the club and high school levels and have earned Division I scholarships.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Lakeside's Katherine Huff, Aiken's Steven Kekacs and Greenbrier's Kate Clark swim year-round for the Aiken-Augusta Swim League. The have enjoyed much success on the club and high school levels and have earned Division I scholarships.

But program director and coach Adam Byars believes it’s no coincidence.

“We have about a dozen graduating seniors, and there are really some exceptional swimmers in that group,” he said. “This year’s senior class has really been a big part of our improvement as a club.”

If the first three dominoes that fell recently in the recruiting process are any indication, this will be an excellent recruiting season for ASL.

Aiken senior Steven Kekacs has committed to swim at Harvard; Lakeside senior Katherine Huff has committed to Texas A&M; and Greenbrier senior Kate Clark has committed to Georgia Tech.

“The success those kids are having, it really starts attracting the younger swimmers,” Byars said.

Kekacs, who specializes in distance freestyle and also swims butterfly, said that Harvard’s reputation as one of the premier academic institutions in the country gave it an instant leg up in the process.

“After college, I’m not going to swim anymore,” he said. “I want to be able to use my college degree after I’m done swimming.

“I thought Harvard would be best for that.”

Kekacs holds a 5.1 GPA on South Carolina’s sliding scale. As opposed to a traditional 4.0 scale, it weights more difficult courses up to a 5.7 for an “A” in an AP course.

Huff saw North Carolina as her favorite early in the process. However, she eventually opted for the challenge that Texas A&M offered.

“At College Station (Texas), I’ll be more in the middle, closer to the bottom,” she said. “At UNC, I would’ve been in the middle, closer to the top.

Clark enjoys competing at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, a venue that was built for the 1996 Olympics. It was among several perks that drew her to the school.

“I love the team; that’s a huge part of what I was looking for,” said Clark, who noted that she’s thrilled to be part of a big Tech recruiting class. “I fit in well with them, and I’m just excited.”

Kekacs and Huff already have made history for their swimming organization.

They will be the first to represent ASL at the Olympic Trials when they take part in the 2012 Trials, set for late June and early July in Omaha, Neb.

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