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Openly gay Virginia Military Institute swim captain named conference swimmer of week

America East Conference honors John Kim.

John Kim

John Kim, a captain on the Virginia Military Institute swim team, was named his conference’s swimmer of the week.

VMI's John Kim has been named the America East Men's Swimmer of the Week, according to information released by the conference Tuesday. Kim is VMI's first weekly honoree in the conference, which the Keydets joined prior to this season.

The fifth-year senior earned the award by winning the 200-back Saturday against William & Mary, doing so in 1:53.50, just off his school record time set in 2014. He also led VMI to a pair of second-place relay finishes in the dual meet loss.

Kim came out openly as gay last month in a first-person essay on Outsports. He explained why it was important for him to be authentic.

“This year I was elected as captain of the men’s and women’s VMI swim team, a 45-member, Division 1 swim team. As a captain on the team, I focused on working with teammates and coaches on bonding and cohesiveness.

“If I wasn’t honest with my coaches and teammates, how could I expect others to be honest with me? That’s why I wanted to come out to the team. I couldn’t keep being this other person when I needed to be my authentic self.”

After the story ran, Kim was inundated with messages of support, calling the response “surreal,” and telling me that he heard from former and current VMI cadets. His story certainly hasn’t negatively impacted his performance in the pool.