Every college athlete’s goal when they first get to school is to have a huge freshman season that will pave the path to a great college career. One of the swimmers at Rowan, sophomore Kevin Yanagisawa, did just that. He did come in and have a great freshman season and is now trying to continue that momentum in his second season here.
Yanagisawa came here to Rowan from Woodbridge, Connecticut with the hopes of not only being successful in the pool but also out in terms of academic success. He thought being here at Rowan would give him the best chance of doing that.
“I was looking at many engineering schools,” Yanagisawa said. “And I came to the decision that this one had the best mix of engineering and athletics.”
His decision looked to be one that paid off so far because among the other honors and awards he received last season, he received a CSCAA Scholar All-American Honorable Mention.
His success in the pool last season is not something that is hard to see as well, even just looking at the stats alone. He had the best times for the team in three different events, the 200 Butterfly with a 1:52.07, the 500 Freestyle with a 4:40.34 and the 1000 Freestyle 9:48.78.
Times for these events and other events he swam like the 1650 Freestyle helped earn him spots on multiple All-Conference Teams, the NJAC Rookie of the Week award eight times, and the NJAC Rookie of the Year award.
“I really didn’t know what to expect,” Yanagisawa said. “I didn’t know how well I was going to do, how well I was going to perform with my team, so ultimately, it just turned out better than I expected.”
Earning all these honors wasn’t the best part of his season last year according to him. His favorite moment occurred when the team was able to defeat TCNJ at a January 26, 2019 meet when they not only beat their rivals, but also clinched the NJAC Championship.
“Winning the NJAC was great, because that was against our rivals TCNJ,” Yanagisawa said. “I am from Connecticut, so it was unknown to me that was our rivals, but it became evident that we were the two best teams and beating them means we won the whole NJAC.”
Being from Connecticut, Yanagisawa wasn’t sure how tough the competition was down here, but he said that it became clear that it was really tough once the season started.
“When we got to a conference meet, the Metropolitan one,” Yanagisawa said. “It became really evident there that there were many fast swimmers there I would have to compete with later on.”
While he was able to compete with these swimmers really well last season, Yanagisawa has to continue working to keep up this momentum, which is why in practices, he is working on both his distance and butterfly swims so he can achieve his biggest goal for this season.
“We are still trying to decide what my best swim is going to be, because in practice we can select everything we want to swim to get better at,” Yanagisawa said. “I think the butterfly comes easier for me, partly because my underwater in part with knowing how to pace my own race and swim my own swim without exhausting myself before the race is over.”
This is what Yanagisawa has based his biggest goal for this season on.
“My goal right now is to win Nationals for the 200 Butterfly,” Yanagisawa said.
There is still a lot of season left, but hopefully Yanagisawa will have a season equal to the last one that could help lead him to his goal.
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