By: Dave Caldwell, Sports Information Director
The Master’s University freshman Kylee Sears has become the first athlete from TMU to qualify for the Speedo Winter Juniors West Championships being held this weekend in Austin, Texas.
Sears has qualified for the 500-yard free, 200 free, and 100 free. The championships, for athletes who are 18-and-under, is sanctioned by USA Swimming and considered one of the top four competitions in the nation.
“This is a huge milestone in the program,” said The Master’s Swimming head coach Curren Bates. “Kylee is competing against the elite swimmers of our country, including members of last year’s Olympic team. It shows The Master’s is here to compete, regardless of the division.”
While Kylee is competing in three events, her best event is likely the 200-yard freestyle. The preliminary heats will be held Friday morning with the finals later that day. This competition gives her a chance to qualify for the US Open, Summer Nationals and the Olympic Trials.
“She has three top times in the nation,” Bates said. “Kylee has become a huge asset to drive the women’s program forward in terms of speed and work ethic. She’s already gone multiple personal bests this season. I’m looking forward to not only see what she will do in these championships, but what she can do in NAIA nationals and compete for a national title.”
The highest finish at NAIA nationals for a TMU athlete was last year when Emma McMurray finished fourth in the 100-yard fly, earning her the program’s second All-American. With what Emma did last year and Kylee now at junior nationals, The Master’s is growing into a nationally competitive program.
“Our athletes continue to grow and achieve best times,” Bates said. “And we are now on a national stage to not only glorify the Lord, but it also shows how athletes get faster at TMU.”