Meet the Ath’elite’: Kendall Binder

Kendall Binder, Swimming

Ally Seevers, Sports Editor

Athlete: Kendall Binder, Class of 2021

Team: Varsity Boys Swimming

“I’ve been swimming since about seventh grade, but I only started swimming competitively since the fall of my freshman year,” said Binder.  “I knew I wanted to do something and not just sit at home all day, so I decided to try swimming since I was already a decent swimmer.”

Kendall has been swimming ever since he was young, but his love for swimming as a competitive swimmer didn’t come until he joined Inspire. Then he “swam for MAC” his “freshman, sophomore, and junior year” to help him become the best swimmer he could be while staying in shape during the off-season. 

“My solo events are the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle, said Kendall, “and for our relay events, I’m the butterfly in our A medley relay and I’m also in our 400 free relay.

Binder swims in many tough events, but what makes it even more brutal is that “3 out of 4 of them [the events] are in the first 5 events of a meet,” which means that he doesn’t get very much rest between his events, so he has “to have a really good endurance.”

But he has pushed through, staying motivated by “getting better at it. Having a great race and seeing that time drop at the end is one of the best feelings ever.”

“One of my favorite memories was from this year,” said Binder. “I was up for the 200 freestyle, the guy I was racing from the other school had a recorded time 0.03 seconds faster than me, so it looked like it was going to be extremely close. Before every race, I always say good luck to whoever I’m racing, and when I said, ‘Hey, good luck man,’ he just scoffed at me. I remember getting up on the diving blocks really mad, and I even heard the assistant coach Tera saying, ‘Oh guys look, Kendall’s mad.’ But apparently, him scoffing at me was a good thing because, in my anger, I dropped 4 seconds and beat him by about 1/3 of the pool.”

Kendall’s favorite thing about swimming: racing his friends, “especially David Braun and Torin Edwards. We’re all just about equal in speed, so when we race it’s always really fun and a good challenge. Also, Torin and I doing something we call ‘The Great Puke Race,’ where we see who can go so fast we throw up first.”

Binder has certainly become an incredible swimmer, but he says he couldn’t do it without the help of his mentor, Bryan Botkin. 

“He was a junior when I was a freshman, our families are good friends and he’s one of the big reasons I did swim in the first place,” Kendall said. “During my freshman year, he taught me everything I needed to know and would give me rides to all the practices and meets in his car, which was permanently stuck on the Spanish channel.”

Binder also appreciates everything that his coaches have done for him, saying, “Coach Tyler [Hammond] knows exactly what each swimmer can do, what their events are, where each person should be in on a relay, and Coach Tera has been great at helping me out with my butterfly.”

No matter how Kendall has gotten to where he is, he has become one of Millard South’s best swimmers and leaders, and we cannot wait to see what his future holds.

“Swimming has introduced me to some great people I never would’ve met otherwise,” said Binder, “but it also taught me willpower and determination, which is something I think everyone needs.”