Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Student-Athlete of the Week: Kristi Vu


January 25, 2019

Senior Kristi Vu was fourth overall in the 50 freestyle (26.42), and eighth in the 100 freestyle (1:00.20) at the All District Meet on Jan. 19.

Niwot senior Kristi Vu became a swimmer by accident. Literally.

“I started swimming as physical therapy for gymnastics,” she said. “And I just started to love it more and more. I finally quit gymnastics two years ago, because swimming was so much more fun.”

‘Fun’ is a word that Vu uses liberally to describe her time with the Niwot swim team. For example, she said it’s the main reason she’s specialized in sprints, in particular the 50-yard freestyle.

“It’s just a fun race to swim,” she said. “It’s all out. If you mess up one little thing, then your race is just going to be messed up. It’s short but it’s thrilling and speedy.”

Vu has also been a stalwart on Niwot’s top relays for the past four years, including the 200 freestyle team whose surprise third-place finish at last year’s state meet helped the Cougars to their best finish in years.

“Kristi is such a joy to have on the team,” Niwot head swim coach Sarah Stamp said of the reliable senior. “She has been such a strong member of our state team. She has battled injuries during her time and has never given up or thought of walking away.”

Vu is in the thick of her fourth and final year with the team, which she admits has been a little rocky out of the pool thanks to their lack of a home practice facility. However, that didn’t stop her from posting a state mark in the first event of the year, making her one of the team’s two four-year state qualifiers, along with senior Claire Jepson.

“Everything is a little messed up with our pool, but things are going pretty great,” she said of her senior season. “The team is coming together and we’re bonding over all the little things at practices and stuff.”

When she’s not swimming for Niwot, Vu competes with the Longmont Swim Club, where she practices up to six days a week. Vu hopes to extend her competitive swimming career beyond high school, but is still weighing her collegiate options.

Vu is also having a successful senior year in the classroom, where she is on the AP track. She is especially enjoying her anatomy class, which she said has been helpful back in the pool.

“It’s super interesting to learn everything about my body. I’ve learned how I use my muscles and how they work during swimming. It’s also given a better understanding, especially when one of the girls says something hurts. I know it could be this or something else.”

Vu’s fondest memories of her time with the Niwot swim program involve ‘fun’ times with her teammates, though the time she overslept and nearly missed the bus to an important meet was also memorable. She encouraged any swimmer worried about mixing swimming and a rigorous academic schedule to remember there’s more to life than good grades.

“Swimming can be a stress relief, even though sometimes practices are hard,” she said. “But the team is just fun. We all bond together and we’re friends. There’s some drama, but we are all cool with each other, and we’re there for each other, and it’s just so much fun to get out there and swim and eat team dinners with your friends.”


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