The latest Health Plus/NY1 Scholar Athlete is setting records in the pool while setting a high standard in the classroom. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
When Queens High School for the Sciences senior Brian McKenna set a city record in the 50 meter freestyle last year, he knew he'd done something special. His record time was 20.85 seconds.
"Fifty free is the fastest event. There's not even time to think while during the race, it just happened by a blur. And I'm just amazed that I can do that time," says Brian.
Brian amazes his coach in the pool every day. She calls him a natural talent and the best swimmer she's ever coached. But he's also a team captain, a tutor and a mentor.
"He's helping all the other kids improve. He's a role model. They all want to be like him, but he's very laid back, low profile," says Maria Coniglio, Brian's swim coach.
"This is my first year being a team captain and I found out it's a lot of responsibility, you have to be on top of things, and you also have to keep pushing others too, and you have to keep pushing others to go to practice because you want them to improve too," says Brian.
In the classroom, Brian excels in math and science. He says ever since kindergarten he's had a knack for the subjects. He's a member of the National Honor Society and is taking 3 AP classes, including physics and calculus.
"I think he has a natural affinity for physics and engineering and things like that," says Daniel Lin, Brian's physics teacher.
"Brian he's good in sports, involved in the SGO, involved in math, involved in research, what more can you want in a student? I'm so honored to have him as my student," says Soonyoung Kwon, Brian's math teacher.
Brian isn't sure where he's going to college yet, but he is planning on swimming when he gets there. He's got a number of scholarship offers. He's also planning on majoring in mechanical engineering.
"I've always been interested in working with my hands. I'm not much of a sit down at the computer type. So I want to work with tools and use my imagination to create new things," says Brian.
So, for balancing his record-setting swimming career with A-plus academics, Brian McKenna is the latest Health Plus/NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.