By Zaki Abbasi
SAN JOSE, CALIF. – Silver Creek students unknowingly walk where the legend; the swimming prodigy; Kunal Kanda treads. Kanda is a 17-year-old senior at Silver Creek. Kanda competitively swims but that’s not his only passion.
Kanda actively prepares, trains and participates in the CCS, a state swimming competition for high schoolers. He started swimming when he was merely 5 years old. Now he has earned rankings in the top 20 fastest swimmers in the pacific region. According to his SwimCloud statistics, he placed a 22.82 second time for a 50 yard freestyle dash. In comparison, average swimmers can complete a 50 yard freestyle in around a minute. It may not seem like a lot, but swimmers can get very far in water, within just a few seconds.
Kanda said, “I improved in my swimming mostly from experience. I train harder and longer. I have also grown taller and stronger.” On his motivations, he explains, “My drive is being really competitive. I don’t want to lose. I don’t have any family members or friends pushing me to my goals – it’s my competitive attitude that drives me.” Kanda is a naturally competitive athlete and strives to get better every year.
In regards to swimming becoming a future career, Kanda says “No, swimming is just some side gig. I make time for swimming and I train hard for it. I want to major in aerospace engineering but swimming is still one of my passions.”
Kunal isn’t only exceptional in swimming. He’s also exceptional in academics. He has completed 11 AP courses throughout his high school career. Even by themselves, advanced placement courses are hard. He makes sure to to the max, while others do the minimum. He is hopeful that his hard work will pay off for an eventual occupation in aerospace engineering.
As an athlete with many accomplishments, it’s important to not let things get to his head. Kanda commented about his CCS win, “I don’t feel special.” Kanda has accomplished what some may think is impossible and he should be proud but he stays humble.
Kanda also gives advice to those who aspire to improve at swimming and anything else. “Get good with basics and technique [for swimming]. Sometimes, you won’t see a big difference in a week because it takes time. Over time, you will get better when you put in the effort. Be cautious of your problems and be mature in handling them. You don’t get good at what you do most – but you get good at what you put the most effort in. What I’d say is to work smart, not hard. Don’t refrain from putting in the effort but don’t keep on hitting the wall to go forward, when you can go around it.”