Aspen High senior to swim for Harvard

Aspen High School senior Kennidy Quist recently commited to swim for Harvard University. She is one of the most prominent swimmers for the Aspen Speedos swim club.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times |

Whether it was growing up on Lake Michigan or the time she spent living in Florida, Aspen High School senior Kennidy Quist has always been a swimmer.

“My parents threw me in the pool when I was little. … They wanted me to learn to swim and they wanted me to learn to swim well. I was always in the water and the lake, so they didn’t want me to drown,” Quist said. “Ever since I started swimming, I always said I wanted to swim in college. To think I’ve actually gotten to the point in my swimming career where I can say I’m going to a D1 school to compete is amazing.”

Quist moved to Aspen with her family right before her freshman year, and ever since has been a prominent member of the Aspen Speedos swim team. Her prowess in the pool — which included her being named an all-American earlier this year — also brought attention from numerous colleges around the country.

As strong in the classroom as in the water, it came down to a pair of Ivy League institutions, with Quist ultimately deciding on Harvard University, where she was offered a spot on the women’s swim team.

Princeton was the other school she was strongly considering.

“Upon visiting, I absolutely fell in love with Harvard, specifically the people,” Quist said. “It’s all about finding the perfect fit. Harvard stood out to me the most in the recruiting process, probably because it wasn’t just about your academics and it wasn’t just about your swimming ability; it was also about your character. I want a team around me that’s incredibly supportive and very passionate about swimming.”

Quist made her official visit to Harvard — located in the heart of Boston — in mid-September and instantly accepted an offer from the team as soon as it was presented to her. She announced her decision Oct. 1.

A strong sprinter in the pool, longtime Aspen Speedos coach Gordon Gerson believes she can go places at the college level.

“Ultimately, I hope for the kids to use their swimming to get to the school that is the best school for them and the best fit. Not too many are going pro in swimming, we are going pro in something else,” Gerson said. “Kennidy will have a shot at making it to national championships on relays, which is what it’s all about. She’s worked hard and she’s earned it. It’s a great opportunity for her.”

Quist admitted to be at least a little nervous about Harvard’s rigorous academic expectations, but also is excited for the challenge. Both of her parents come from an engineering background, something Quist plans to pursue in college. Math and science have always been a strong suit for the 17-year-old.

“It’s a great group of women, and I know who is going to school with me already. I’ve met some of my classmates and I’m extremely excited,” Quist said. “I’m very excited for the diversity that college brings. I think that having students that are so driven and passionate as I am in all different things will really help me grow as a person.”