PAIGE KEARNS: Key Member of University of Georgia’s NCAA Championship Freestyle Relay Teams
By Maria Sonnenberg // April 26, 2017
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: Paige Kearns, as one of Brevard’s best-ever swimmers, will be inducted into The Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame on May 12, 2017.
2017 COLLEGE INDUCTEE
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Growing up, Paige Kearns didn’t live near the water, but that didn’t stop her from constantly thinking about that very special liquid. “I’ve always loved the water,” said the champion swimmer.
Focusing on swimming came for Kearns at the age of seven, when the Rockledge native was participating in so many sports and after-school activities that her mother decided the schedule needed to be pared down.
“I was doing soccer, baseball, ballet, tap and swimming, so my mom finally said I should pick one and go with it,” said Kearns.
Swimming won, and Kearns turned out to be quite the winner at swimming. The 2001 graduate of Rockledge High School considers swimming the perfect sport.
“There is an individual aspect and also a team aspect,” she said. “It has a cool dynamic.”
The athlete truly came into her own at the University of Georgia, where she swam for the school from 2001 through 2005. In 2002, she was a member of the NCAA championship 200-freestyle relay team and 400-freestyle relay team.
Not only did the Bulldog relay teams earn the top titles, they also broke the American record at both events.
She continued her winning streak in 2003 as a member of the NCAA champion 200-freestyle relay team.
The year 2004 was a banner year for Kearns, for not only did UGA again take NCAA’s 200-freestyle relay championship, but also broke not just the American record, but added the world’s record to her list of achievements.
Kearns’ last year at UGA was all about outstanding swimming.
That year she posted a 22.32 second 50-yard free style mark, the 4th fastest in UGA history and only 0.69 seconds off of the UGA record-holder, four-time Olympic silver medalist, and relay teammate Kara Lynn Joyce.
Her team won the NCAA National Championship, the first team to win all five relays in a national championship, thanks in large part to Kearns, who swam in two of the five relays.
Kearns was again a mainstay on the NCAA championship 200-freestyle relay and 400-freestyle relay teams, again breaking the American record at both events.
Consider the frustration other competitors must have had during those years with Kearns and her teammates in the water. They didn’t stand a chance.
Now living in Orlando and working in property management, Kearns doesn’t spend as much time in the water as she would like to, although she manages to frequent the pool at the local “Y” on a regular basis.
“I’m not swimming as much as I should, but I do run and participate in half marathons,” she said.
She misses the sheer exhilaration of the sport, but the lessons she learned from swimming, such as striving to do your personal best while also working as part of a team for the common good, will be with Kearns for the rest of her life.
“I’ve always appreciated the dedication competitive swimming requires,” she said.
CLICK HERE to see all the members of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
THE 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 12.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com
Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Announced, Induction Ceremony Set May 12
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame selection committee announced Thursday an impressive array of outstanding individuals to be inducted into the 2017 Class of the Hall of Fame.
Dozens of nominees were considered for the 2017 class in four categories including professional sports, college sports, high school sports and amateur sports.
Special honorary recognition will also be bestowed upon individuals and teams that have made significant contributions to sports on the Space Coast.
Space Coast Daily created the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, and has so far inducted more than 100 of Brevard County’s most outstanding athletes, coaches and sports personalities.
Serving on the committee are Space Coast Daily President & Publisher Tom Palermo, Vice President Giles Malone, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo, Managing Editor Zach Clark, Assistant Editor Alan Zlotorzynski, local youth sports advocate and promoter Mike Cadore, Friday Night Locker Room Founders Steve Wilson and Orville Susong, former Health First COO Larry Garrison, Cocoa Beach City Manager Jim McKnight and AAU Vice President Rusty Buchanan.
“The list of inductees for 2017 induction include athletes and coaches everybody knows – and some that may have been forgotten with the passing of time,” said Tom Palermo.
INDUCTION GALA & SPORTS AWARDS SET FOR MAY 12
The 2017 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Sports Awards will be held Friday, May 12 at the Cocoa Beach County Club.
The festivities include a meet and greet with the area’s sports royalty, dinner and the induction proceeding which includes compelling video tributes of each of the inductees.
The 2017 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame induction event, and the 2017 High School Breakfast of Champions recognition awards, are sponsored by Community Credit Union, First Choice Medical Group, SOAR, Clear Choice Health Care, BioCellular Therapies, Savings Safari, Spectrum Sports, Friday Night Locker Room, Dr. Sangiv Patel, Dr. Mark Pinsky and Rock Paper Simple..
FOR INFORMATION about the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame, or to make a reservation, e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com or call 321-615-8111.
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Tim Wakefield talks about his induction into the first class of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2017
• PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Joe Kohlbrand, Football; and Cory Philpot, Football
• COLLEGE CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Jason Arnold, Baseball; Michael Coffey, Bowling; Reggie Hannah, Basketball; Paige Kearns, Swimming; and Charles Wilson, Football.
• PREP CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Kristen Gordon, Softball; Ray Herring, Jr. Football; Katie Jackson, Soccer; and Hunter Pingston, Football.
• AMATEUR/REC CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Richard Chapman, Little League; Todd Erickson, Softball; Al Genchi, Youth Soccer; and David Kilgore, Running.
• COACHING CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Skip Arrich, Soccer; Tom Dooley, Baseball; Chuck Keener, Tennis; Steve Lamontagne, Golf; and Mike Soliven, Basketball.
• SPORTS DEVELOPMENT INDUCTEES: Jeff Carr, Eastern Florida State College; and Steve Englehart, Florida Tech.
• LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT INDUCTEES: Linda Anderson, Athletic Director; and Les Stafford, Volunteer
• SPORTS OFFICIALS INDUCTEES: Neely Dunn and Bob Walton.
• SPORTS JOURNALISM INDUCTEES: Hillard Grossman.
• SPORTS AMBASSADOR AWARD INDUCTEE : Gary Gregory, PAL Boxing.
• CHALLENGER AWARDS INDUCTEES: Brevard Special Olympics – Coach Cindy Dropeski, Athlete Chuck Conway and Volunteer Kathi Madden.
• TEAM OF THE YEAR: Cocoa High School 2016 Football State Champions.
• SPECIAL TRIBUTE: Jim Grimes, Basketball, Eastern Florida State College
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE MEMBERS OF THE SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME