Teen learns academic discipline from swimming
Each Monday in the online edition and Tuesday in the print edition, The Sun features a teen selected from nominees submitted by guidance counselors throughout the region. Near the end of the school year, one of the students profiled will be named Teen of the Year and receive a $5,000 scholarship. An additional student will be chosen for an Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
"I'm a super hard worker now," Patel said. "We have eight practices a week and two of them are at 5 a.m. Mondays through Fridays. It's a crazy schedule, but it's helped me with the school part of things because I have no time to do anything, so that just keeps me on the ball."
She said her dedication to swimming and school has prepared her for college.
"Perseverance is a big thing in swim because it's about delayed gratification," she said. "You work tirelessly everyday to drop, maybe like a hundredth of a second. Then you don't really see that result until maybe a year later. I think a lot of people don't know how to appreciate delayed gratification because in today's society, you just want something now. Swimming has definitely helped me to develop the skill of patience."
Aside from swimming, Patel is a cantor at her church, St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Paducah, leading the church in a song once a month. She also enjoys singing in choir, drawing, reading and spending time pigging out with her friends after a swim meet.
While she doesn't yet have concrete plans about where to go to college or exactly what to study, she plans to continue swimming and earn a degree in a field that is dedicated to helping others.
"My family is very medically oriented," Patel said. "My dad is a doctor and my mom was a nurse, so my plan is to go to college and take the pre-med track."