Michael Stegeman has a habit of exceeding expectations each time he dives into the Knights of Columbus’ pool on behalf of foster children.

It’s not a bad habit, by any means.

This past summer, Michael swam 430 laps in a 25-yard length pool in three hours and 15 minutes,

That’s roughly 150 laps per hour.

Maybe it’s his feet that keep him swimming.

Fourteen-year-old Michael stands 6-feet, 5-inches, wears size 20 shoes and his mother says he is still growing – along with his feet!

He has raised more than $1,000 each time he has participated in Wednesday’s Child Benefit Corporation’s Swim-for-Kids by raising pledges from neighbors for the number of pool lengths he swims.

“I look like a football player, but I can still swim,” says Michael, who plays guard for the Lake Highlands Junior High School football team.

This past summer, he collected 99 pledges to swim in the fund-raiser, but he says many pledges have wised up over the years and make flat donations, rather than pledges per lengths he swims.

He consistently has raised the most money on his team and the most money overall for the event. This year, another swimmer raised more than $1,000, and Michael came in second overall, but still first on his team.

“When you’re swimming, time flies by. It felt like I was swimming for 30 minutes,” he says.

Michael, who has lived in Lake Highlands his entire life, says he enjoys going out to the neighborhood asking for pledges each year.

“It’s practically routine now; everyone knows that I’m coming,” he says.

The prize for the event is a pair of Reebok shoes, and don’t think that hasn’t been a problem for event organizers.

They’ve had to special order shoes for Michael every year, says his mother, Lynette Stegeman.

Lynette works at the front desk at the Knights of Columbus and heard about the event five years ago, which is how Michael became involved.

He has participated every year since, except for last summer when he was volunteering at the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Besides swimming and football, Michael throws the shot-put and discus for LHJH’s track team.

Michael feels good about participating in the fund-raiser for children.

“If you beat your length every year, this could happen: I get to be in the Advocate,” he says.