The Northwestern Wildcats continue to invest in their speed-oriented future with their verbal commitment from Florida-based sprinter, Gage Kohner. Kohner is a solid freestyle addition who has bests of 21.2/45.7/1:40.6 in the 50-100-200 yard freestyles, and he also has long course bests of 23.8/51.8/1:56.4 in those same distances. He represents Boca Raton Community School during high school season (based out of Boca Raton, FL), and he also swims for the Saint Andrew’s Swimming Club in club competitions.
In previous articles, we have mentioned how Northwestern Men’s Head Coach Jarod Schroeder has had a speed-centric focus in his recruiting out of the class of 2014. In combination with the reception of verbals from recruits such as overseas stud Almog Olshtein (22.8 50 lcm freestyle, 51.1 100 lcm free, 24.7 50 lcm fly), and Wisconsin-based standout Nick Petersen (22.8 50 back, 48.6 100 back, 48.5 100 fly), the Wildcats are steadily building a foundation for both their relays and the shorter individual races in years to come.
The Wildcats have had some success in their sprints in recent competition thanks to senior Chase Stephens, who has already been a 20.3/44.9/1:39.6 this year in the 50 through 200 freestyles. Stephens is a returning NCAA qualifier and he has career bests of 19.9/43.1/1:37.2 in the 50-100-200 freestyles, and he has been very valuable on the Wildcats’ relays as well. In their recent dual meet against Western Kentucky University, Stephens dropped a monster 43.4 anchor leg on the 400 medley relay in an attempt to make-up ground against the Hilltoppers’ ‘A’ relay, and though the Wildcats lost the relay by less than a second, they gained significant assurance in Stephens’ capabilities on relays.
The graduations of Stephens, senior Dominik Cubelic (20.1 50 free, 44.4 100 free, 21.7 50 back, 47.6 100 back), and fellow senior Matt Wilcox (20.7 50 free, 44.8 100 free, 1:39.6 200 free) after this season will warrant the redesigning of all of the Wildcats’ relays beginning with the 2014-15 season. They already have Olshtein, Petersen, and freshman sprint standout Andrew Jovanovic (20.2 50 free, 43.9 100 free, 21.5/47.1 sprint flys, 22.07/47.4 sprint backstrok) on deck, but the addition of Kohner will certainly help their case.
This becomes even more convincing when comparing Kohner’s current times with the times of Stephens when he entered college. The comparison yields very favorable results for Kohner if he is able to match Stephen’s rate of improvement, as Stephens had bests of 21.5/46.7/1:41.4 in the 50 through 200 freestyles coming out of high school. Though Stephens’ 6’8” frame may be a big reason behind his gradual realization of his full potential, Kohner and Coach Schroeder can both look forward to what the 2014-15 season and beyond have in store.