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Swimming to Success: Kuenzler Plunges Back into Competition Along With Teammates

By Maxmillian Robinson

It’s the season to dive into the pools for the collegiate men’s and women's swim teams. Adelphi has been competing in collegiate play since the 70s, with many accolades won in in swimming. Holding 23 single season school records is something this school has been proud about. Yet, out of those 23, four of those records belong to a certain individual.

One athlete, senior women's swimmer Rachel Kuenzler, holds the best record for the 100 free, 200 free, 50 back and the 200 individual medley swim. Kuenzler has gone over the distance as a college athlete here at Adelphi. She reported to The Delphian about how she feels to return to collegiate play and her expectations for the season.

“Being that this is my last season, it's awesome being back in the water,” Kuenzler said. “I’m looking forward to this season, especially being out of the pool for so long [due to Covid].”

Kuenzler wins award from recent event Photo from AU Athletics.

Over this tumultuous period, there was lots of idle time for these athletes: time away from competing in their sport; time away from their on-campus life and their routine; and for some, time away from their families. So what occupied Kuenzler’s free time when she wasn’t in the pool lanes?

“I have been a [CrossFit] athlete for the past four years,” Kuenzler said. “Being out of the water made me focus on CrossFit and lifting more, and it’s definitely paying off [in the water].”

For Kuenzler, what kind of individual success, along with team expectation, does she feel is necessary in order to have closure for their competitive play?

“Individually, I am looking to improve my times and get back up on the podium at [NE10’s],” Kuenzler said.

Kuenzler is no beginner when it comes to competing for success. Last year during the 2020 Northeast-10 Conference Championships, she broke three Adelphi records at the event and was a member of the quartet (four swimmers) group that broke a five-year mark in the 800 freestyle relay. She also finished her time in the 200 individual medley at 2:09.76, smashing the previous (school) record by over four seconds, overall, placing third at the NE-10 event. But despite her individual successes, she’s also aware of being there for her teammates.

“For the team, using my past experiences to help the underclassmen through new experiences at the collegiate level, to swim fast, support each other and overall have a good time,” she said.

Rachel Kuenzler hopes to achieve very good individual and team success this year. Photo from AU Athletics.

She and her fellow teammates even found a way to stay in touch during the pandemic.

“On Saturday mornings, we have mental training together, which stresses visualization and positivity,” Kuenzler said. “Also, swimming is a very individual sport. I think the main way we all gain chemistry and camaraderie with one another is cheering one another on in our races, motivating each other through tough sets, and all putting our max effort into everything we do. That’s what really makes swimming special, especially with a good team. That’s our chemistry. Struggling through sets together definitely builds strong relationships.”

Already in play, the swim team has competed in two events so far, with the next event scheduled for Dec. 3 as part of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) championship series.

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