Athens Academy junior Ava Kennedy has been taught the lesson of appreciating what she loves to do in a few different ways early in her life. Surgeries on her chest wall kept her out of the swimming pool periodically over the last four years. COVID-19 has cut into her spring and summer swimming schedule. Both situations have shown Kennedy how much swimming means to her.
“You don’t really appreciate something as much until you can’t do it,” Kennedy said. “Quarantine did it again for us and no one could play their sports. This morning I went to my first practice back and it was so exciting. You miss it, but you don’t realize how much until you go back.”
Last fall Kennedy embarked on the journey to regaining her full strength. In the waning moons and sunsets of her junior year of high school Kennedy is back fully healthy and renewed in her sense of drive.
“It was a huge relief and it took a lot off my shoulders to know that I could look forward,” Kennedy said. “I just knew from there I could only get better. I worked so much harder than ever before...“It flips that mental switch and I can just go. There’s nothing holding me back and I can just go for it.”
Kennedy has found success in the pool at the high school level. Kennedy came home second in the state championship meet in the 50-yard freestyle. She was recently named Positve Athlete Georgia’s East Atlanta Regional Award winner. Kennedy also recently committed to the University to swim after she graduates from high school. UGA has always been Kennedy’s dream school. She’s followed UGA athletics for as long as she can remember and knows a few swimmers that have gone through the program. Getting the offer is something she didn’t see happening for herself early in her swimming career. Once the offer came it was too good to pass on. Kennedy credits the hard work and trying times as her launching boards.
“Growing up in Athens I’ve been exposed to all of the teams,” Kennedy said. “They’re just amazing. Especially swimming. I’ve had people that I know go through the team and they’re all amazing athletes. It’s world class. I never saw myself as that level of athlete until more recently. I realized that I could do it if I worked a little bit harder. I just kept going for it and it was just kind of there and I took the opportunity.”
Oconee Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation/Oconee Enterprise Athlete of the Week is chosen by the sports staff of The Oconee Enterprise. You are welcome to email nominations to email@example.com by Monday at 10 a.m.
Oconee Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation can be reached at www.oconeept.com