It’s not easy being a boy swimmer at a school like Central Catholic.
With the Raiders among the best teams in New England in basketball and also boasting elite programs in hockey and wrestling, swimmers usually don’t get much notice, much less respect.
But senior David Kitchen of North Andover is making a name for himself despite the second nature of his sport. He’s among the best breaststrokers in the Merrimack Valley Conference and the best-ever at Central.
“He’s definitely the best athlete we’ve had since I’ve been here (‘99),” said Central coach Scott Young. “Swimming-wise, he’s certainly the best we’ve had since we split with Andover. He’s close to (two-time Eagle-Tribune MVP) Kevin Riley’s record in the 100 breaststroke.
“He’s a combo of a natural swimmer and a hard worker. He’s good at it and works at it, which is why he’s so good.”
We caught up to the Eagle-Tribune All-Star to go Around the Horn and find out what it’s like to be a swimmer at Central and why he got a relatively late start in the sport.
You didn’t start swimming until the seventh grade — why the late start in a sport in which most people start much younger?
“I used to be a hockey player but I got tired of it and wanted to try something new. Swimming seemed like a good idea.”
Are there any other swimmers in the family?
“My younger sister Laura swims at Central. She started (swimming) about the same time I did.”
What’s it like swimming at a school where basketball, hockey and other bigger sports are so successful and grab all the attention?
“I like flying under the radar. We’re kind of like the underdogs. Whenever they announce something we do, people are shocked.”