Sports & Outdoors

Kolb makes waves as top swimmer of the year

Brett Kolb (middle) poses with Dylan Reimers and Kelli Callahan at the NWC Championships — Photo courtesy of Logger Athletics

Logger Brett Kolb was named first-year Swimmer of the Year after an impressive performance in the Northwest Conference (NWC) Championships, held Feb. 7–10.

“I’m still kind of in shock, but it’s a huge honor,” Kolb said.

Kolb made his presence known during the Division III NWC Championships. He earned first-team status in the 800-freestyle relay and the 1650-freestyle, as well as second-team status in the 500-freestyle, according to Logger Athletics. His greatest feat came, however, in the latter stages of the event.

On the third day of the NWC Championships, Kolb earned a title in the 200-freestyle. According to Swimming World Magazine, Kolb edged first-year Finn McClone (Whitworth) by only .09 seconds in the most competitive race of the day. Kolb expressed great modesty and respect for his competitors after receiving his award: “There were so many fast first-years that I raced, especially Finn McClone, that could have easily been chosen over me.”

Assistant Coach Alex Nowjack shared his thoughts on Brett’s achievement: “It’s spectacular to see him recognized for his hard work and determination.”

Sprint Coach Rondamarie Smith attributes Kolb’s success to his perseverance and adaptability: “Brett demonstrates willingness to try new events and to struggle if needed to succeed.”

Team Captain Kai Haven praised his natural abilities as well as his work ethic: “Brett has the natural talent, but is also focused and puts in the work every day in practice.” Haven added that swimmers such as Kolb and Kelli Callahan, the NWC Women’s Swimmer of the Year, keep the team’s standards and spirits high.

While Kolb acknowledged the importance of work ethic and focus, he said that his greatest asset is his passion for what he does. “The one thing that’s helped me get this far is the love I have for swimming. I’d say hard work, focus, discipline, and many more traits are built on top of that love base, like a house,” Kolb said. “Of course, no house is complete without a roof, and my roof is made of dreams and desires of pushing myself to the next level.”

The first-year Swimmer of the Year also credits his success to those who have supported him in his journey. “None of this success would have happened if it weren’t for all the friends I’ve made over the years and the amazing coaches here at Puget Sound. Without them I don’t think I’d be in this position right now.”

Kolb expressed particular gratitude to Julie Hardt, his previous swim coach: “Before Julie came in to coach my hometown swim club, I was kind of falling out of the sport.”

Like many athletes have experienced, Kolb was on the verge of abandoning his dreams of being a collegiate swimmer. Hardt was not the only one who encouraged him to continue his swimming career, however.

“I’d also like to thank my family for pushing me into staying and not just letting me quit,” Kolb said. “I also have to thank my mom for driving me to morning practice when she could have easily just stayed in bed.”

Unfortunately, Kolb sustained a shoulder injury following the NWC Championships and will not be competing in the Division III NCAA Championships this year. Regardless, the first-year Swimmer of the Year certainly made quite the impression on the Puget Sound Swim Program and the rest of the Northwest Conference. Brett Kolb has a lot to be proud of and has a promising future as a Logger athlete.