Story by Victoria Artale from The Bull’s Eye
Since he learned how to swim at the age of four as a safety precaution, senior Kevin Vargas realized he had the potential to achieve greatness and began to do just that at the age of seven.
Vargas is currently ranked seventh out of all high school level swimmers in California and 55th in the nation, according to College Swimming.
During the last CIF competition of his high school career, Vargas managed to break two of his own Division IV records. Working with his Diamond Bar High School teammates, Vargas set the new record for the 200 meter medley relay race.
He also set a new record for his specialty, the 200 individual medley, which is a combination of fly, back, breast and free strokes.
Aside from competing on the DBHS swim team, Vargas is also a member of the La Mirada Armada, a private swim club. With this team, he has the opportunity to travel all over the nation to swim in different elite-level competitions such as the Speedo Champion Series in Indianapolis, where Vargas placed first in the 400 IM.
“The biggest difference is we compete nationally, so I compete against people who are ranging from 15 years old to 28 years, which means they can race better,” Vargas said. “They know what it’s like to compete nationally and it puts pressure on you.”
Another incredible accomplishment Vargas is proud of is being a part of the National Junior Team last year. The USA Swimming organization picks the top two swimmers in the nation from each of the 18 events to be a part of the team. Vargas was chosen for the 400 IM category.
In order to succeed, Vargas trains seven days a week, sometimes twice a day. Four days a week, he has one three-hour practice every day. Three days a week, Vargas has two practices every day for a total of six hours.
“I think people don’t see exactly how much swimming swimmers put into the sport. I don’t know many other sports that practice two to three hours 11 times a week,” Vargas said. “It’s just completely different from any other land sport because you’re in the water.”
Vargas has several goals lined up for his future swimming career. He plans on participating in a competition this summer that will be held in France and Barcelona called the Mare Nostrum.
He is also committed to the University of Florida, and one of his ultimate goals in the sport is to qualify and compete at a high level in the Olympics.