By BELLE BRUNNER
Concord High School Senior
When Concord High School students Grace Brenneman and Kiran Stauffer first met at the pool in their middle school years, they couldn’t have imagined what was yet to come.
Over the next decade, they developed big dreams for themselves, their team, and each other.
“The team culture was amazing and so motivating which helped me realize why I wanted to swim fast -- for the team,” Grace said.
The pool has been a positive environment to be in, with teammates past and present, always supporting one another, Kiran added.
In the not-so-distant future, Kiran and Grace will be headed down separate paths, but both will continue to share the passion that started it all -- swimming.
DEVELOPING A LOVE FOR SWIMMING
Both Kiran and Grace have been swimming since they were little, and both have family connections to the sport.
“Swimming has sort of run in my genes as my dad (Randy) and all of his siblings swam, and then my sisters (Cate and Reegan) and I along with my two of my cousins are all either swimming or have swam,” Kiran said. Just like Kiran, Grace also has a sister that swims. Her younger sister Catie, a 7th grader at Concord Junior High, is following her footsteps in the pool. Today, Grace and Kiran are both a big part of the Concord High School team. Kiran swims the 200 and 500 freestyle, and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. On the other hand, Grace takes all of the sprints, swimming the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle and the relays as well.
“Swimming in high school has been the best decision I have ever made. It has been such a great experience and being with my teammates everyday is so much fun,” Kiran said.
Always making sure to make team spirit their top priority, Grace said, “I would say most importantly it’s always been, I compete with Kiran and the other girls on the team, not against them because we are a team and we all support each other.”
BIG DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE
At every swim meet, their goal isn’t just to perform well themselves, but it’s also to see the others succeed. Even if they are racing against each other, Grace and Kiran are constantly pushing one another to improve. “Competing with Grace is so much fun. Whenever I race her, I know it will be a good race because we love to race each other,” said Kiran.
“That motivation is super powerful, and it has helped me do things I would’ve never thought I could do in the pool,” added Grace.
Falling in love with the sport and team atmosphere, Grace and Kiran have both decided to continue their swimming career onto the next level. Despite only being in their junior year, both have committed to Division I programs.
“I plan to swim at Ball State following high school, where I also plan to study education and become a high school math teacher. Ball State was a program where I can really see myself improving as well as being really happy and enjoying it,” Kiran said.
Grace, who will be swimming at Notre Dame, stated, “Notre Dame communicated how interested they were in me looking at my character and my swimming ability, and how they know they can develop me into a better swimmer and person while I'm there. They really accommodated what I want to pursue in my future in agriculture and helped create the best plan for me to get the degree that can best jumpstart my career after college.”
As they finish their junior year and head onto their senior year, both realized they have found in each other a great teammate and an even better friend.
Kiran stated, “There have definitely been some times where we've had rough meets, whether that be falling short of goals or sickness, because she always supports me and cheers for me and encourages me.”
Grace added, “You always can hear her cheering louder than everyone else at swim meets, no matter what Concord swimmer is in the water.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Belle Brunner is a senior at Concord High School, where she is actively involved in golf and swimming. She is serving as an intern for the spring semester and will be writing stories about students and staff at Concord Community Schools.