S. Fla. boy, 10, to represent U.S. in Junior Pan Am Games

Kevin Mendez says he wants to compete in 2020 Tokyo Olympics

LIGHTHOUSE POINT, Fla. - A Lighthouse Point 4th grader is trying to make a big splash in International Diving.

Kevin Mendez, 10, is representing the U.S. at the Junior Pan American Games later this month. 

The first time Kevin saw a springboard he was hooked. 

"When he was 3, he saw the diving board and he said 'I want to do that,'" his mom, Kellie Mosley Mendez, told Local 10.

Kevin started lessons two days a week, four days a week and then it escalated into what it is now six days a week. 

"I want to be good at my sport," he said.

So far he's on track. Kevin has won vive national championships this year in the 11 and under age group. He's also got a spot on the Junior Pan American Games team competing later this month in Arizona. 

"Kevin loves it. He would rather dive than do anything," said coach Janet Gabriel. "So he's willing to do whatever it takes."  

That includes waking up at 5:30 a.m., training four hours a day, going to school and doing homework.  All that before falling back in bed at 8:30 p.m.

"He loves this.  On the days he's not training on the weekends, he's upset," his mother said.

Kevin is happy with his success so far, but wants to get better. 

"He needs to continue to increase his degree of difficulty, but not only his difficulty, his accuracy and his consistency," Gabriel said.  That's because Kevin has big plans. 

"My goal is to be in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo," he said.

Kevin trains at Pine Crest School and the Swimming Hall of Fame pool in Fort Lauderdale because there is a 5 meter platform there.  That's about 16 feet over the water.  He says he was a little scared when he first went up that high, but now he's not. 

The Junior Pan Am Games start next Thursday and run through Sunday.


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