In 1912, the great Duke Kahanamoku first gained global recognition smashing the world record in the 100-meter freestyle at the Olympics. Eight years later he broke his own record.
Flash forward 100 years, and Michael Petrides is on a similar path with multiple state records already under his belt.
“He’s a great example for the swimmers in the pool and training with him,” said his coach John Flanagan. “Obviously setting the bar high as far as the times he does in the pool. But whats more important is he’s a student of the sport. He knows a lot about whats going on, he pays attention to what he’s doing and what others are doing and if someone falls off, he’s there to say ‘come, let’s do better on this next one.”
A senior at Mid Pacific Institute, Michael is not just one of the top high school swimmers in Hawaii, but the country. Though he admits, he wouldn’t be where he is today without his big sister Maia.
“She’s actually 100% why I started swimming,” said swimming champion Michael Petrides. “I wanted to be like my older sibling so started and I did not like it at first. My mom was so upset, you have to be certain age to quit. And I got to a certain age and my sister was like ‘don’t you quit, I promise if you just keep with it, it will all pay off'”.
And it has. In the pool and beyond. Today that lesson of not giving up is one Michael is now helping to instill in others.
“I’ve known Mike since before I started swimming,” said teammate Makena Ginoza. “We went to the same elementary school and our parents knew each other and even back then he was a leader in school and out of school. He was always a good person. Then I joined swimming and he started on this side for Kamehameha and he really pushed me to get better.”
“He’s a great friend, great person, I just really appreciate his quiet leadership,” said Flanagan. “He really is great for the athletes we have around, but he’s also, as I mentioned, a student of the sport. He’s really in tune with what he’s doing in the pool, but he’s an excellent student, he’s studious, he pays attention to more than just swim”.
Beyond his efforts to protect the environment, help his peers, do well in school and excel at athletics, Michael finds time to also volunteer at church and spends time caring for alzheimers patients.
“I just want when someone sees me and they come to Hawaii I want them to see his message in whatever it is, in whatever you do. You have to just care for others. You need to make sure they know how to take care of others and it’s just an endless cycle that goes around and around.”
For all that he’s done in and out of the pool and the recognition he now receives, Michael remains humble.
“I really want to spread the message of aloha. As cheesy as it sounds, but I really just want people to know that I’m here to spread the love and you need to have a positive attitude in life and it just creates a positive outlook.”