Tennessee high school swimmer Johnathan Lai is headed to Middle Tennessee State University’s Medical School Early Acceptance Program (MSEAP), which consists of a seven-year accelerated track that continues on to Meharry Medical College, then eventual placement into one of Tennessee’s more rural residency programs.
This track lines up with their mission to encourage access to medical care in rural communities, a goal that Lai is passionate about himself, stating that he’d “like to come back and work in this region…I really want to help these people because I feel like they deserve a lot better.” Not only has Lai been accepted into this advanced program, but he has also accomplished this in conjunction with graduating at 16 years of age from Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, TN.
Alongside his significant academic accomplishments, such as maintaining a 4.0 GPA and earning National Merit Commended status, Lai was also a four-year varsity swimmer and Tennessee High School State Championship qualifier for Dobyns-Bennet. At this season’s state meet, Lai placed 11th in the 100 fly, just a few tenths off of his lifetime best of 51.93. He also helped his school to a 14th place finish in the 200 free relay and an 18th place finish in the 400 free relay. He led off in a 22.37 and anchored in a 51.09, respectively.
During the NETS Regional Championships, a precursor to the state meet, Lai popped multiple lifetime bests in the same individual events, swimming to two regional titles in the 100 fly with a 51.93 and the 50 free with a 22.03. That 50 in particular clipped six tenths off his previous personal best from a club meet two months prior.
Lai does his club swimming at Kingsport Piranhas. Under their banner, he dropped huge personal bests in the 100 and 200 free, as well as the 200 IM at a club meet in Virginia during late December of 2019. His 200 IM time of 2:11.66 shaved six seconds off his previous lifetime best, and his swims in the 100 and 200 free clipped his bests by nine tenths and two seconds, respectively.
Since Middle Tennessee State University does not sponsor a swim team, Lai will be unable to continue his swimming career further in a formal collegiate environment. MTSU competes at the NCAA Division 1 Mid-Major level in all other athletic teams.
It is almost always the case that swimmers are good students and good people and Jonathan is no exception. I’m sure a lot of that comes from the dedication and time management that swimming at a high level requires. Congratulations Jonathan and keep up the good work!
YES SIR!!! Let’s Go!!!
Way to go Johnathan.
Best wishes for your continued success in college from the Piranhas.
Wishing this young man all the best in reaching his goals!
Johnathan, Congratulations to you in your swimming career and in your medical career !
It’s so impressive when a teenager has such a clear focus on the path they want to forge in life, particularly when borne out of a desire to serve. Best of luck to you, Johnathan!
ABSOLUTELY TRUE – HOWEVER THE ACADEMIC PATH THIS OUTSTANDING YOUNG MAN IS FOLLOWING IS ACTUALLY TYPICAL IN SOME OTHER COUNTRIES. OUR DEFAULT IS FOR MANY GREAT MINDS TO LANGUISH IN UNDERGRADUATE INSTITUTIONS. WAKE UP AMERICA. CONGRATULATIONS JOHNATHAN!
That’s my boy Jon Jon!