Hard work pays off for Homewood-Flossmoor's Kuchta

2012-01-12T22:00:00Z 2013-04-19T22:52:22Z Hard work pays off for Homewood-Flossmoor's KuchtaBy Kenny Karrson Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 12, 2012 10:00 pm  • 

In the popular 1970s sitcom, "Happy Days," Arthur Fonzarelli often had his signature catchphrase, "Hey!" at his disposal.

While television shows are not necessarily an accurate depiction of real life, it's quite possible Fonzie's saying was in Homewood-Flossmoor junior swimmer Kevin Kuchta's mind at last year's sectional meet.

At that time, Kuchta broke the Vikings' 200-yard individual medley standard of 2 minutes, .05 seconds with his 2:00.03 clocking. This event was a particularly special one for Kuchta because, by setting the mark, he bumped his brother Dave's name from the No. 1 position in the school record book.

Dave Kuchta was, in fact, among the spectators at the sectional meet and was the individual who handed Kevin his medal during the awards ceremony.

"It was one of the greatest swimming experiences I've ever had," Kevin said. "It felt awesome because I was only a sophomore and my brother was a senior (when he broke the previous record).

"When he came to give me the award, he was (essentially) passing the record along to me."

While one might wonder if Dave experienced a little jealousy when his younger sibling surpassed him, this was not the case.

In fact, the Kuchta brothers have always been close.

"My brother has always been there to help me out (with my swimming)," Kevin said. "He has given me great advice on how to improve my technique."

H-F coach Keith Dombkowski agreed that Kuchta's feat at the sectional meet was remarkable. He was also quick to explain how that occasion demonstrated the similarity in the brothers' work ethic.

"Dave worked hard (when I had him on the team), and Kevin is no different," Dombkowski said. "Kevin is usually the first one to come to practice, and he rarely misses. His teammates respect him because he leads by example. He is making everyone (on our team) better."

Kuchta's tireless efforts also make him better, as evidenced by his exploits at last year's sectional contest, as well as his success at the recent pentathlon hosted by H-F.

The pentathlon, which the Vikings hold annually, consists of five events: the 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 100 freestyle and 200 IM. Each school fields a team of 10 swimmers, and everyone competes in each event. Each event is given a point total, and the top eight finishers in each receive awards.

At this year's affair, Kuchta finished in the top eight in every event and captured the overall individual title.

"It felt awesome (to win individually) because not many H-F swimmers have done it," he said.

Dombkowski was also pleased with Kuchta's achievements at the pentathlon, especially since swim powers such as Fenwick and Neuqua Valley were part of the field.

"Our team generally doesn't get too fired up (about the pentathlon) because it's tough, so it was nice to see Kevin get up there and represent us," Dombkowski said.

Even though Kuchta has had an exceptional season thus far, he still hopes to accomplish a little more before it's over.

"My goals are to get to state in the 200 IM or the 100 breast, and to try to break the (school) 200 IM record again," he said.

No matter what happens, though, Dombkowski is proud of his team captain.

"Kevin is really dedicated to H-F when it comes to aquatics," he said.

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