Amberman enjoys swimming, but it isn't the Centre of his life

January 31, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

Swimmer Keith Amberman is not your typical athlete.

In his high school days at South Carroll, he saw the football field plenty of Friday nights -- as a member of the band.

Now a junior at Centre College -- a tiny Division III school about 30 miles south of Lexington, Ky. -- Amberman enjoys the two hours he spends a day in the pool, and looks to graduate with a double major in biology and philosophy.

Amberman began swimming for the Freedom Swim Club at age 6.

He'll tell you he's no "master" in the pool and doesn't lose any sleep when he doesn't win. He enjoys his teammates and likes the low pressure of competing in non-scholarship Division III.

"It's just something I like to do," Amberman said. "When I'm in the pool, I give it all I have, and at the same time if I don't finish first, I'm not going to stop studying and go back to the pool.

"Swimming is a non-intellectual break for me. I like the exercise and discipline it brings. The team is great to be around, and we have a good time."

Amberman is the school's No. 2 breaststroke swimmer, competing in the 100-meter and 200-meter events, and he also will occasionally swim the freestyle. The team is 2-4 on the season in dual-meet competition, and Amberman has filled his role with a number of second and third-place finishes.

"He's really improved remarkably" said Centre swim coach Bill ,, Duncan. "In the 100 breaststroke, he's knocked four or five seconds off his time from a year ago. That's very significant in a short race.

"He's really had some good swims for us, and you can always count on Keith to work hard -- everything is 100 percent."

Centre College was the only school Amberman applied to, and the two have been a perfect match. Last spring, he spent a semester in Strasbourg, France and had an opportunity to see a lot of Europe.

"I visited Greece, Italy, Germany, Hungary and a lot of other places. To be able to jump on a train and be in a totally different culture was an incredible experience," he said.

Founded in 1819, Centre College, a liberal arts school, has an enrollment of about 900 students.

Amberman says the academic aspect is demanding. Philosophy a subject he enjoys personally, while he chose biology for his love of animals and plans to go on to veterinarian school after graduation.

"The professors are excellent and the work is hard," he said.

"The school is very appealing, sort of in the middle of nowhere. Being so small, the student-to-professor ratio enables you to get more individual attention."

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