Kelsey was born on May 18, 1995 to Randy and Cindy Stark in. She has two sisters, Kara and Kirstin. Kirstin, also a swimmer, competed for the University of Toledo, which helped drive Kelsey to becoming a D1 collegiate athlete. Kelsey started swimming at age 6 for the neighborhood swim club after almost drowning in a nearby creek. She was taught to swim by Holly Scheffer, who would swim backstroke underneath her in the deep end. Later, Scheffer would become her high school coach and remains one of the greatest influences in Stark’s life. At age nine, she started swimming year round, and by age twelve she joined Southern Michigan Aquatic Club under Jeremy Layman and really discovered her love for competitive swimming. Under the coaching of Jeremy Layman, with hard work and dedication, she qualified for Central Zone sectionals at age 14.
Kelsey attended Bedford Senior High School from 2009-3013. She swam for the Varsity team under Holly Scheffer from 2009-2010 and under Lu Ann Bauer from 2011-2012. Her freshman year, she qualified for states and helped the 200 free relay team take 4th. Her sophomore year, she took 3rd in the 100-yard butterfly at conference and at the Michigan state meet swam the butterfly leg of a 5th place relay that achieved an All-American consideration. During Kelsey’s senior year, she took 2nd in the 100 free and 3rd in the 50 free at the SEC championships, won the 50 free and 100 free at SMISL championships, and was All-State in the 100 freestyle at the state meet. All four years Stark was a scholar-athlete and letter-winner, and during her senior season she was voted captain.
Kelsey joined the Golden Grizzlies in the fall of 2013, the first year Oakland athletics took part in the Horizon League. She achieved personal bests in all of her events by the end of the season. Kelsey is majoring in Elementary Education.