Top Keene State College swimmer decides to take a year off after being named the women’s Little East Conference Swimmer of the Year.
KSC swimmer Kaila Umbarger will not be suiting up for the Owls her junior year after making her second straight appearance at the Division III national meet.
“I discouraged her at first, because I didn’t know how she was going get all four years of swimming in,” Swimming and Diving Coach Jack Fabian said. “And she could potentially be a national champion.”
Umbarger said she is planning to pursue her masters degree in special education.
So she will return to KSC to compete for her senior year and during her fifth year at KSC while completing the one year program.
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Instead, Umbarger has decided to study abroad in at University of Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy for the Spring 2012 semester.
Umbarger said she is concerned about staying in shape while away.
“Its a lot of self-discipline, working out on my own,” Umbarger said.
Umbarger said she had been planning to study abroad since the winter break her sophomore year, but did no know how her team would react.
Umbarger said so her commitment to the team wasn’t misunderstood she didn’t tell Fabian or her teammates until after nationals.
Fabian said he is concerned about getting Umbarger back up to speed once she does return to KSC.
“It’s not ideal, it’s going to take some work, but Kaila [Umbarger] is such a natural talent, and has a great mindset,” Fabian said. “She’s the kind of person who could come back even better.”
Umbarger said she will be studying ballet, among other things in Italy, and hopes that will help keep her in shape.
Fabian said he knows Umbarger will stay in shape, it is just a matter of getting her back into “pool shape” and back to that competitive level of swimming.
Umbarger said she worked with the Global Education Office to find a pool with a club team in Florence that she plans on trying to swim with during her time overseas.
Ryan Glavey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org