Andrew Coen knows about commitment in the classroom and swimming pool.
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The El Dorado High School graduate had a 4.4 grade point average when he received his diploma earlier this month, earning the honor of being the 2013 salutatorian. For the last four years he spent an average of four to five hours a day studying.
For the last four years, he’s been a member of the Cougars’ swim team and a member of the AquaSol swim team — a year-round swimming program in El Dorado County. He’s been swimming since he was 6 years old.
“Nine practices per week, every day in the afternoon for two hours, plus Saturday and before school from 5:30 to 7 a.m.,” Coen said. “Swimming has consumed pretty much all my free time for the past three years.”
Now he’s ready to make a nine-year commitment to Uncle Sam. Coen has been accepted at the United States Naval Academy.
On Tuesday, June 25, Coen leaves Placerville for the academy in Annapolis, Md. He is expected to graduate with his bachelor’s degree and the rank of second lieutenant in 2017 and serve five years of active duty.
“I can’t think of a better opportunity than to be able to serve my country while receiving an education equivalent to that of an Ivy League school,” Coen said.
Coen is considering ocean engineering, cyber operations or computer science as his major at the academy.
“I love the ocean and the water,” Coen said. “As a swimmer, the water has become an integral part of my life and it would be awesome if I could adopt a career that involves it. I am really attracted to the idea that I will be doing crazy and unique things that I won’t be able to experience at any civilian college, like learning to shoot M16s and trekking through intense obstacle courses with a group of incredibly driven people.”
Coen applied at the academy last summer when he participated in a program to experience the naval academy lifestyle.
“After the summer seminar I decided I wanted to go to the academy,” Coen said. “I applied relatively early, within a week of the application process being open. The application process was a long haul but it was all worth it.”
Since he received his acceptance, Coen has been physically preparing for boot camp.
“I took a weight training class last year and I do 150 to 200 push-ups randomly throughout the day to keep my anaerobic strength up,” Coen said. “I am currently running to try to get my mile time down to around 5 minutes, since I am currently at around 5:30, which is relatively slow.”
Coen is enjoying his final days in Placerville before being leaving for the academy.
“I am trying to enjoy my time, and spending lots of my time having fun and hanging out with friends,” Coen said. “I will be doing a lot of wakeboarding, listening to music and playing guitar. I will also be going on a road trip to Santa Barbara. I’m going to stay relaxed and just focus on getting pumped for the 25th and the six weeks that will ensue.”
One of the benefits Coen receives at the academy is a $1,000 monthly stipend that increases by $100 each year until he graduates.
“A lot of it goes toward uniform expenses,” Coen said.
Coen is the second member of his family to join the military. His grandfather, Fred Coen, was a fighter pilot for the Army-Air Force Corps during World War II.
There is also East Coast ties for Coen. His parents, Brian and Joanne, grew up in New York then lived in Florida after they were married. The family moved to Placerville from Florida in 2000.
“I am really excited to experience life on the East Coast,” Coen said. “My parents are from Long Island, so it will be fun to share some of the East Coast clichés with each other.”
Coen won’t return to Placerville until Christmas.
“I don’t get enough time off for Thanksgiving to make it home,” Coen said.
Coen’s younger brother, Matt, will be a senior at El Dorado this fall.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.