(Lander, WY) – Once a Wyoming high school state champion swimmer, Jonny Kulow, is now a top college finisher. At the NCAA Swimming Championships the Lander Valley High School graduate helped the Arizona State Sun Devils to their best finish in program history placing second as a team.
Kulow said he was pleased with the result. “It went better than I was expecting. The first couple of months of me being down here (Arizona) took a little bit of getting used to.” Kulow said.
With his efforts in his first season at the NCAA level, Kulow was named Freshman of the Year for the Pac-12 conference. “It was great! I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and the boys behind me,” he said. “The other freshman on the squad deserved it just as much as I did.”
Kulow, over the week, also became an All-American swimmer in multiple events at the NCAA championships.
- 100 Free Style Consolation – 11th – 41.66
- 400 Free relay – 3rd – 2:45.12 (School Record)
- 400 Medley Relay – 3rd – 2:59.18 (School Record)
- 200 Medley Relay – 2nd – 1:21.07 (School Record)
Smithbaker wins multiple events in MWC Championship
The Mountain West Championships saw another former Lander swimmer with great success. Meredith Smithbaker competes for San Diego State University.
“The season was good!” Smithbaker said. “I got personal records this season which was exciting.”
- 100 Freestyle Championship – 1st – 49:05
- 50-Yard Freestyle Championship – 1st – 22.47
- 100 Yard Breaststroke – 3rd – 1:00.81
- 400 Yard Medley Relay – 1st – 3:35.20
- 200 Yard Medley – 1st – 1:36.62
The college level is not a cakewalk. Athletes put the time in to get to where they are today. “A lot of hours are put in along with nutrition”,” Smithbaker said. “Luckily I have had coaches along the way that have instilled that in me. That’s who I am and I love to work hard,” she said.
“In Lander, we were doing 5000 yards in about two hours. Today I did 5000 in 50 minutes. It is much quicker.” Kulow said. “Everyone is battling each other to make the travel squad.”
The Wyoming swimmer is putting everyone on notice and bringing curiosity along with it. “They underestimate us. We are out there” Smithbaker said.
“It’s great (representing Wyoming)! I have had so many comments from people on my team. There is a lot of curiosity,” Kulow said. “At nationals. There was a coach from another team that had connections to Wyoming who came up and started shooting the breeze with me about Wyoming,” He added.
To future swimmers in Fremont County Smithbaker and Kulow said it’s all about trusting yourself and keep working hard. “Just keep working hard. Trust your coaches and teammates around you,” Smithbaker said. “You can not do it alone. Having a good community like Lander that supports you helps keep me going at it!”
“Trust the process, Trust the coaches. Don’t be afraid to lean on your team and the guys around you that support and push you. Also supports them and pushes because they need it as well.” Kulow concluded. “Put as much effort as you can no matter how small the task is”