Evan Pittman

Meet the world's strongest violinist.

That might sound like a backhanded compliment, but 17-year-old Evan Pittman is a record-setting powerlifter whose musical talents have earned him opportunities to perform the national anthem at Major League Baseball games.

Pittman's latest accomplishment was reaching his goal to break 100 world powerlifting records before graduating from Phoenix Country Day School in the spring.

He broke 11 records while winning the World Natural Powerlifting Federation championships at a competition held in New Jersey two weeks ago. According to his father, Hal, that gives Evan 108 world records.

Pittman, who weighs 147 pounds, had top lifts of 395 in the squat, 235 on the bench and 485 in the deadlift for a total of 1,115 pounds at this event.

Evan Pittman

"Getting to 100 world records or any big sports goal is really about consistency over years of training and competition," Pittman says. "Going to the gym when my friends were out having a good time, getting up early to lift if I had homework the night before, finding a way to work around a busy schedule and other activities, and just putting the work in to be the best athlete I can be."

Pittman had hoped to surpass 100 records during the summer. But he dislocated a finger while training as a competitive diver, and that kept him from participating as a powerlifter in the Junior Olympics in July.

As one can imagine, Pittman has a pretty rigorous schedule with 2-4 hours of homework each night.

"After school, he spends two hours at the pool training in springboard diving," Hal says. "Then he eats dinner, does homework, and practices 45 to 60 minutes on the violin."

Two nights during the school week, he trains for an hour in the home gym his father built in the family garage – a necessity to avoid the travel time to and from the gym. Occasionally, he will have to double-up weight workouts during the week if the schedule becomes too tight. He also lifts on Saturdays and Sundays, and sometimes has a diving training session on the weekend, and plays violin at Catholic mass on Saturday. He also does volunteer work on the weekends, and tries to get at least 7 ½ - 8 hours of sleep each night for recovery.

Evan Pittman

Part of Pittman's motivation is using his powerlifting as a fundraiser to help Lift for Heroes that supports combat-wounded veterans in conjunction with the Bob Woodruff Foundation. Pittman has raised more than $2,000, and the cause is meaningful to him because his father's and grandfather's military background. Hal is a retired Rear Admiral in the Navy.

"My grandfather, Treas Feaster, was among the first black Air Force officers sent to integrate southern Air Force bases in the 1960s," Pittman says.

Hal says Evan was 10 when he developed an interest in powerlifting.

"Evan began lifting weights and doing plyometrics," Hal says. "He started squatting, bench pressing and deadlifting to become stronger and a faster athlete."

Hal quickly realized that his son could lift more than the records previously held for children his age and began entering him in meets. During Evan's first competition at the 2009 Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics, he broke an American and world record, and has gone on to break world records in every Junior Olympics since.

In the past two years, he also won the AAU's Joel Ferrell Award for Outstanding Performance and Sportsmanship at the Junior Olympics. He also has been selected as the AAU Strength Sports National Athlete of the Year and became an Academic All-American.

Evan Pittman

"He is the kind of young man that we as parents strive to raise," says Martin Drake, the AAU strength sports national chairman. "Evan's accomplishments moving forward will far out pace his amazing accomplishments as he approaches 100 world records at such a young age."

Aside from lifting, Pittman spends his time volunteering. He received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award in 2015 for performing more than 100 hours of community service, which includes playing violin for patients in veterans/nursing homes and hospitals such as Phoenix Children's.

"When Evan goes room to room to play at the bedsides of patients, the kids love hearing a familiar Disney tune on the violin and he truly brightens their day," says Dana Sones, director of National Music Programs at Musicians On Call.

At school, Pittman is co-president of the Black, Caribbean and Latino clubs.

"Evan is analytical and philosophical," says Jennifer Treadway, dean of students at Phoenix Country Day. "He is a deep thinker who is concerned about the world. He enjoys pushing himself in every activity in which he participates."

Pittman brought that approach to refining his short list of colleges as he made campus visits with his family.

"Each campus had its own unique personality, " he says. "As a student who has changed schools multiple times because of military family moves, I really, really understand that finding the right academic environment that fits your personality is necessary, and you won't get that from a website or brochure. While I am a very competitive person by nature, I'm looking for a campus environment where the students and faculty are humble and nice to each other, and where community and public service is embraced."