By Chris Cox
Stillwater sophomore Alex Kim sees a lot of similarities between succeeding in athletics and having success in the classroom.
“Competition is a natural thing,” Kim says. “Whether that’s sports or academics, I try to embrace it. I use competition as a way to gauge how I’m doing compared to the other people around me. But I also use it to push and motivate me more.”
Kim, who is a swimmer and tennis player for the Pioneers, says his philosophy isn’t about setting big, long term goals but rather about setting smaller, short term goals.
“I like to set short term goals and once I get those, set more goals,” he says. “It’s a process. To get to state, you have to do well at regionals. To do well at regionals, you have to be at practices and put in hard work and effort. With academics, it’s also a step process. If I get good grades and do well in school, I know I’ll get good results in college and my life after that as well.”
Alex has his sights set on the state tournament for both swimming and tennis.
“For swimming, I want to place top 10 in my respective event (100 backstroke),” Kim says. “Last year, I placed 11th or 12th in the final as a freshman. This year, I definitely see that top 10 as a goal. For tennis, I want to do well in regionals and qualify for state.”
Balancing a busy athletic and academic calendar can be stressful but Alex says his parents help him manage his time and are there to support him when things get stressful.
“My parents (Yoo Kim and Hwahyun Lee) are very supportive,” he says. “My dad got me really interested in sports. My mom was more of my academic motivator. Both of them have motivated me a lot and I couldn’t do any of this without them.”
Alex also credits his friends with helping him stay motivated.
“Sometimes it feels like they’re my biggest competitors,” he admits. “But without any of them, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Outside of athletics, Alex is not one to shy away from groups. He is an All-State violinist in the Stillwater orchestra, a member of the quiz bowl team, student council, and beta club.
Following graduation, Alex plans on attending college and studying either law or economics.