Regional 7 star, Kiley Stotler Just Keeps Getting Faster. Story by John Torsiello.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
Kiley Stotler believes if she puts her mind to it she can get even faster in the pool. And that’s scary thought.
The Northwestern Regional 7 junior is pretty darn fast already. Last weekend, she earned her second straight female Most Outstanding Performer honor at the Berkshire League Championship at the Hotchkiss School pool in Salisbury, helping her team capture its third straight league crown.
Stotler finished ahead of every male in the Individual Medley except one, winner Joe D’Andrea of Litchfield, and posting a time of 2:09.91 that was six seconds ahead of the next closest competitor. She then turned in a 5:14. 88 to finish third in the 50-yard freestyle. She set female meet records in both events.
Stotler was also a member of the Northwestern 200-yard medley relay team that finished sixth, and the 400-yard freestyle relay team that placed fifth. She accounted or helped account for 63 of Northwestern’s winning total of 643 points.
She was even better at this weekend’s Class S qualifying swim, finishing seventh in the 500-yard freestyle with a sterling 5:10.92 clocking, and 10th in the IM with a time of 2:08.52. The Class finals are Wednesday at Middletown’s Wesleyan University pool.
“I like to think if I work hard I can get faster,” Stotler said this week. “I still have a lot of times that I can improve. I know that I still need to work on quite a few technique points, like keeping my turns tighter and not running out of breath on them. I believe that if I fix those problems and just keep working at it I can still get faster. With swimming, there always seems to be a new technique to a new suggestion that a coach can makes to try out, so I still have a lot that I need to work on.”
Naturally, Stotler feels her season has been a successful one, both in individual ways and as a part of a team.
“We have a really great group of kids on our high school team, so our season has been great so far (Northwestern competed in the state Class S meet Saturday). Personally, I’m happy with my season. It isn’t over yet because we have states coming up for high school and then I have New England’s and Nationals for my YMCA team. I was really happy with my times at our Berkshire League Championship and I’ve had a lot of fun working with my team.”
Being a part of a superb team such as Northwestern has made her first three years at Northwestern a blast.
“Our high school team is awesome because over the course of the season we become a family. Our coaches are great and they push us because they want us to be able to be proud of what we accomplish. I feel like I have really grown as a swimmer and a person since I have joined, and I have made so many friends on the team. Before I reached high school, I had a tendency to swim the same events every meet I went to. But as I got older, my coaches, both high school and (YMCA) Lasers, have pushed me to branch out, which has turned out very well. In fact, I have broken several team records in events that I didn’t swim often when I was younger.” She adds, “I really enjoy being in the pool even through the really hard practices, and I enjoy being with my teammates and coaches who always manage to make me laugh. I’m lucky to be able to spend so much time doing what I love.”
Stotler began swimming competitively when she was eight years old on the Lasers. Previous to joining the team, she had several swim lesson teachers over the summers that were on a swim team and got she and her sisters interested in joining the squad.
The Stotlers are indeed an aquatic family. Older sister, Casey, is a senior this year. She started swimming at the same time Kiley did and swam up until this year when she decided to stop due to shoulder pain. A younger sister, MacKenzie, is on the high school team as a freshman and has decided to dive as well as swim. Kiley’s two youngest sisters, twins Kelly and Cassidy, are currently on the Laserss and are seventh graders.
“The twins will be on the high school team in two years and are looking forward to it,” said Kiley. “We are competitive but we like to support one another. We always cheer each other on when we are swimming together. We are not usually in the same events at swim meets because we all seem to have different strengths. We talk swimming a lot because it is such a huge part of our lives, and we all really enjoy the sport and all the road trips and early mornings that come with it.”
Stotler said she doesn’t know if she was a natural at the sport as a youngster, “but my coaches saw my potential and were very encouraging. She adds, “I originally joined simply because I really liked to swim. My favorite stroke when I was eight was immediately the breaststroke.” As a junior swimmer, she qualified for YMCA New England Championships every year and earned two medals at the event. She also often medaled (in the top six) at the YMCA Yankee Cluster Swim Championships.
During the high school season, Stotler swims six or seven days a week, usually for about an hour and a half each day. “Occasionally we will have morning practices that I will attend. We usually do dry land about twice a week depending on our practice schedule.” Off-season, she swims with the Lasers and a USA swim team. “We usually swim five days a week, two hours a day, with meets on weekends. I also have joined a bike club through my school for cross-training purposes and for fun.”
While she enjoys every event she competes in, she does have favorites. “I have always enjoyed swimming breaststroke the best, but I also enjoy swimming the IM, and as my coaches put me in different events I keep expanding the list.”
Stotler talked about her future goals.
“I just want to push myself to work harder and swim faster. In the off-season, I plan to work on swimming different events from those that I usually swim to see if I can improve times. I also plan on doing more cross-training, hopefully. I’m not sure of all of my goals for next season. I plan on setting them after I see how the summer season goes and after talking to some of my coaches, but I hope to break some more records.”
Stotler is also a good student, making “Academic Excellence” each quarter and setting high goals for herself in school. She takes all honors and AP classes and has a 4.135 GPA with AP weighting. Once her high school is complete she hopes to take it to the next level.
“I have started thinking about colleges. I’m not sure yet where I want to go yet, but I most likely will stay in New England. I definitely want to swim in college.”
And, of course, working on getting faster and faster.