Zade Sikes, an eighth-grader at Van Alstyne Middle School, has a passion for swimming. That passion has pushed him to compete and earned him a spot in the State Games of America in Lynchburg, Virginia this summer.

Zade began swimming in 2012 for the Denison Dolphins. On January 19, he earned two gold medals in the 50-yard backstroke and as the anchor in a relay at the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Winter Games in Pearland.

He also earned two silver medals in the 100 individual Medley and the 200-yard freestyle. Zade’s mom, Tina Sikes, said Zade broke his personal records for all of the events.

Zade’s is currently part of the Metroplex Aquatics McKinney Team and is being trained under Coach Nathan Pantalion. Having several “A” time cuts — a time classification for swimmers - in USA swimming qualified him to compete this weekend in Rockwall for the Metroplex Aquatics at the North Texas Short Course 14 and Under Championships in the 100 backstroke and freestyle events.

Sikes said Zade is constantly working to improve in every aspect of the sport. “Zade has stepped up his commitment this year and is continually improving his times,” Sikes said. “He participated in the SMU swim camp last summer and will again this summer.”

Sikes said Zade has various accolades for swimming. “He received an Iron Man Medal from Metroplex Aquatics this past December which is in recognition of improving his time in all of his longer distance events.”

Zade said swimming is hard but fun. “What is fun this year is seeing the hard work I have put in pay off. Coach Nathan pushes me to get to my potential,” said Zade.

He hopes to swim for the University of Texas once he graduates.

Sikes said she could not be more proud of all of Zade’s hard work and accomplishments. “We are very proud of his accomplishments. He works hard and we support him any way we can.”

Zade is an Honor Roll student at Van Alstyne Middle School and plays for the school’s basketball team. He also participates in Barnett’s Basketball Academy for off-season basketball.