HONOLULU, November 20. IOLANI High School senior Hongzhe Sun, Hawaii's most promising swimmer in decades, signed an unofficial letter of intent this morning to attend Stanford University. (Since Sun is not receiving a scholarship, his letter of intent is not considered official.)
Today is the final day of the early signing period, when athletes in most sports can make firm commitments to colleges. Sun wreportedly signed his letter at 7 a.m. in the Iolani headmaster's office.
He said last night that "it was a hard decision" to pick between Stanford and California-Berkeley.
"I felt a little more comfortable at Stanford," he said, "and there were other factors besides swimming. I felt Stanford would offer me better connections after college. It's unbelievable how many (successful) people have come out of there.
"When I walked around the campus, it made me feel like I was walking among future CEOs."
In swimming, he said, "a lot of Olympians train at Stanford. There are so many great people I can learn from."
Sun was honored as a Speedo/National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association "Swimmer of the Year" for 2002. His state meet record time of 49.40 seconds in the 100 yard butterfly ranked second in the nation for independent schools and seventh for all high schools in the 2002 season.
Sun also holds the state high-school championship meet record in the 100 yard backstroke (49.95).
He has set more than 60 age group records in Hawaii and won two championships at the U.S. Open meet last year.