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Tuesday, January 29, 2013 Flames Focus: Emilie Kaufman

Last semester, I began sharing the stories of Liberty athletes through my blog series called “Flames Focus,” and, as the spring semester begins, I’m excited to begin sharing the incredible stories of my school’s athletes once again.

I recently got the opportunity to talk with an athlete who is competing for Liberty in the water. Emilie Kaufman is a swimmer from Kirkland, Washington; and, as a junior transfer student, she is representing Liberty well in her first season as a Flame.

While growing up, Emilie enjoyed playing the flute and got used to the water as she participated in synchronized swimming for seven years.

Emilie got used to the water as a synchronized swimmer. (Photo Provided)

When Emilie reached high school, she made the transition from synchronized swimming to her high school’s swim team. At first, she wasn’t too excited about her new sport.

“I actually hated the idea of swimming…I decided to do it for fun in high school, and I ended up doing well at it, so I switched; but I never saw myself doing it,” Emilie said.

Emilie would definitely end up “doing well at it,” but adjusting to swimming wasn’t always easy. “At the beginning it was kind of rough. I didn’t know what I was doing. I hadn’t really done real swimming before,” Emilie said.

As Emilie made her adjustment, she began to dominate in the pool. According to, she broke multiple records throughout her career at Juanita High School. In her senior year, Emilie won state titles in the 50 free and 100 breast and was named an All-American in the same events.

Emilie’s most valued high school accomplishment came during her senior year when she was named Swimmer of the Year for the entire state of Washington.

Emilie receives the 2009 Swimmer of the Year award in her state of Washington. (Photo Provided)

In four years, Emilie developed into an incredible swimmer and fell in love with her sport. “By my senior year, I was having a lot of fun with it…It really became a passion of mine,” Emilie said.

After graduating from high school, Emilie made her transition to college life as she swam for Rutgers University in the Big East Conference.

Her experience at Rutgers wasn’t like she hoped it would be. “There was a period of time, when I just didn’t want to swim anymore. I was just done. I was planning on going home,” Emilie said.

Emilie was ready to put her swim cap and goggles up for good when she was contacted by Liberty’s assistant swim coach, Jessica Barnes. Barnes was an assistant coach at Rutgers, when Emilie was recruited to be a Scarlet Knight, and she convinced Emilie to give swimming a try as a Flame.

Emilie competes as a Liberty Flame. (Photo Provided)

“I decided why not give it another shot. I felt like I might end up regretting it if I didn’t just give it another two years," Emilie said.

Emilie had to leave behind friends at Rutgers and adjust to a new college, but she is having a positive experience and enjoying Liberty’s environment.  “I really like the sense of family. I feel like everybody is looking out for each other here,” Emilie said.

Emilie arrived at Liberty last summer, and, in two months, she was swimming faster than she had in two years. Her favorite moment as a Flame came at the Virginia Tech Invitational, when she set a personal record for her main event, the 100m breast stroke.

Emilie set a personal record in her main event, the 100m breast stroke. (Photo Provided)

Emilie has had a great time competing for Liberty, but her favorite part of her experience is enjoying her teammates. “It was so refreshing to come to a team that’s just very friendly,” Emilie said.

Emilie's favorite thing about Liberty swimming is her team. (Photo provided)

One year ago, Emilie was ready to get out of the swimming pool for good, but now she’s working harder than ever to represent Liberty in a great way. Emilie is having a great first season as a Flame, and I can’t wait to see what she does in the pool, as she finishes up her college career as a Liberty Flame.

Posted at 3:17 PM | Comments (0)