Ask Isaac McKnight about swimming and you'll get a smile and a shrug.
Watch Isaac McKnight swim and you'll see why he is on the 2010 High School All American list that was just released.
McKnight, who will be a Chickasha High School senior when school starts next month, made the All-American list based on his swim times in the 100 Freestyle and the 200 Freestyle. He is ranked 84th in the nation in the 100 and ranked 124th in the nation in the 200.
He has a swim biography packed with records and awards that is nothing to blush at. Mention it, however, and McKnight will blush.
"As talented as Isaac is, you would never know it," said CHS Swim Coach Terri Gallaway. "He is very humble and modest about his abilities. His leadership is invaluable to our team. He has caused Krista (Cochran) and me to be better coaches and our swimmers to be better swimmers."
Gallaway said the first time McKnight earned a gold medal at the state swimming competition two years ago, he was interviewed by a local television station.
"I heard him say, 'I'm just so happy that I could do this for my school and my team.' He didn't mention himself," Gallaway said.
Getting McKnight to talk about himself – even in a planned interview – isn't that easy. However, his records and accomplishments speak loud and clear.
• State qualifier in all 11 swim events as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
• State champion, Class 5A, in the 50 Freestyle and the 100 Freestyle as a sophomore and a junior.
• USA Swimming Scholastic All-American as a sophomore.
• Holds multiple Chesapeake Swim Club team records.
• Holds LSC Oklahoma Citizen Record for 15-16-year-olds.
• Suburban Conference Male Athlete of the Year as a sophomore and junior.
• Set new State and Suburban Conference records in the 50, 100 and 200 Freestyle.
"Swimming is just something I picked up," McKnight said. "It clicked for me and then it snowballed. I don't think I really have any natural talent. I see kids that have more natural ability than I do. I've always just had a good time in the water."
He began swimming when he was a toddler and attributes his success to hard work and strong family support and beliefs.
McKnight is the son of Max and Sandra McKnight. Max is the president of the the Chickasha Economic Development Council and Sandra is employed at Canadian Valley Technology Center. The McKnights also have a daughter, Madison, who was a swimmer in high school.
"My parents help me out a lot on how to keep things balanced, like swim practices and school and church activities. They help me get done what needs to be done," McKnight said.
He began seriously swimming year-round at the age of seven. His current summer schedule includes nine swim practices a week – each session about two to two-and-a-half hours each. He also has a weight lifting routine about three times a week, concentrating more on repetitions than on weight.
"Lifting weights is not a priority, but it does help me with my speed in the water," McKnight said. He prefers speed events to distance events.
He claims not to have a favorite subject in school and said he prefers the pool to the classroom. However, that statement is probably the same as a smile and a shrug when asked about swimming. McKnight's scholastic achievements are noteworthy, also.
His cumulative grand point average is 4.2 on a weighted scale, which means he takes honors and advanced placement classes. He has taken Honors Chemistry and Advanced Placement Language and History. Basically, McKnight is a straight "A" student.
"So far," he says with a grin.
Going into his senior year, his class ranking is third out of 186. He is a National Honor Society Regent; vice-president of his freshman, sophomore and junior class; member of student council; and vice-president of the school organization, Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Looking forward to his senior year at CHS, McKnight wears a rubber wristband imprinted with the message, "Finish Strong."
"I just want to have a good senior year all-around," he said. "I tend to set goals when they come. When it's time to set a goal. I'm not sure what I want to do for a career right now. I would like to sign on to swim at the college level, but recruitment doesn't really pick up until the fall.
"Our school swim team had one of the best years ever in CHS swim history last season. We have a really good set-up going into this next year. I want to be a leader," he said.
And, according to Coach Gallaway, that's something that does come naturally to the All-American swimmer.