Prep Athlete of the Year: Kira Brownell
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Kira Brownell was named one of four 2022 Wyoming News Now Prep Athletes of Year Monday evening. She follows Kelly Walsh’s Cameron Burkett, who was named the first 2022 Wyoming News Now Prep Athlete of the Year on July 11.
Kira was selected as Prep Athlete of the Week on October 26, 2020 and August 30, 2021 and she announced her commitment to New Mexico State Swimming on November 18, 2021.
Kira was a member of the Cheyenne Central Class of 2022 and she finished her career as a 2x state champion (2021 100 Back & 2021 50 Free), 3x All-Stater, and 6x individual conference champion. Below is the transcription of Nick Kuzma’s interview with Kira.
NK: “I’m here with our second Prep Athlete of the Year. Kira Brownell, thank you for joining us.”
KB: “Yeah, of course.”
“Yeah and before we get started, let’s hear from your coach, Cheyenne Central Head Swimming & Diving Coach Josh Bott.”
Josh Bott on Kira Brownell:
“I actually met her, I was coaching with the CCA Swim Club a little bit and got to know her then and she just kind of seemed like a happy, bubbly, fun high school student who loved the sport and really wanted to talk about the sport. She seemed like one of the few athletes that there are out there that is kind of a student of the sport.”
“To be honest, I think Kira would’ve been really successful with any coach. I mean she was a great athlete before I got here and put a lot of time and effort into her talent and her goals and I was just really fortunate to jump in and kind of be a part of that. "
“She kind of had the two years I was coach her, a little bit of a roller coaster where she had those opportunities and for whatever reason things didn’t work out maybe her junior year and she didn’t let that deter her and didn’t let that get in the way of what she really wanted to do and she came through as a senior and was a great year and obviously did great things in the pool and had an unbelievable state meet and really represented Central the best she possibly could and to see an athlete grow like that so quickly within that final season, it, to me, that means she’s got a lot of room to grow and I think that was sort of a allure that those colleges had towards her that she kind of, they can see that she’s got a lot more in her and she’s got a lot of growth left despite being really good right now.”
NK: “Alright, well Josh certainly had some pretty nice things to say about you, what have coaches like him meant for you during your high school career?”
KB: “My coaches have been the absolute best. I started off with Garman, Coach Garman from South, with club and everything and he really got me started, him and Larry, and really like noticed my back stroke and everything, so that’s kind of how I stuck with back stroke, and then Miller was a really great coach and he helped build my confidence and Josh, he just finished my high school career off and he was great and helped me decide on what college. All of them have been great.”
NK: “Alright well lets talk about your career a little bit, its been a great one, a two-time state champion both in the back and the free. You were also a three time All-Stater, a six-time conference champion individually, you’re gonna be a Division I swimmer at New Mexico State University, what are some of your proudest moments?”
KB: “I would say just coming back after my junior year and finishing out senior year as best as I possibly could. So that would probably be my proudest moment and like going DI is also pretty big.”
NK: “Well it had to start somewhere, and how did it start for you? How did you get involved in swimming.”
KB: “My mom threw me in the pool when I was like 8, because I had broad shoulders or so she says, and so she kind of just put me in swim lessons. I got through swim lessons, really fast, joined the team and, I don’t know, I just came to love it.”
NK: “What are some of your favorite memories, let’s talk high school first, what were some of your favorite memories in high school, besides just the winning, because there’s more than that right?”
KB: “Yeah, I would definitely say all the overnight trips. I feel like I had a pretty great bond with my team all throughout high school and the people really make the sport fun so probably just like all the overnight trips and staying in the hotels and eating out and all that.”
NK: “And now let’s talk a little bit about your preparation because you did have a big turn from junior to senior year. I know you were disappointed after your junior year to not win state, you even went so far as to say as you were expected to win and you didn’t. But then there was a big change in you, I remember seeing it this past fall year. Went went into that change and to make you be a state champion?”
KB: “I would say motivation. I was kind of angry at myself and so I didn’t want that to happen to me again and so I really put in the time and effort over offseason and I traveled and competed all over and just was training a lot and I didn’t really take a break and, I don’t know, it was just, I think it was all the training offseason and cross training to lead up to a strong mentality for high school season and then also having Josh as my coach through the whole process would probably add up to it.”
NK: “So then your senior season finally comes and you do win two state championships. How great did it feel to get through all of those trials, tribulations, whatever you want to call them, and then be a state champion. What was that like for you?”
KB: “It was really great. I could hear my dad cheering, because Gillette’s a small area so you can hear everyone so I could specifically hear my dad and also it’s just, I don’t know, it was good to watch all of you hard work pay off and yeah.”
NK: “Proof it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish right?”
NK: “And now let’s talk about going forward. What are some of your goals as you’re heading off to New Mexico to be a Division I swimmer?”
KB: “I just want to improve as much as I possibly can. Hopefully I’ll be able to make NCAA’s eventually and, yeah, I just want to get a lot faster and improve myself as person and as a swimmer.”
NK: “Well Kira thanks so much for joining us. I’ll hand this over to you. This is you, you are a Prep Athlete of the Year just got to say, it’s been a pleasure to cover you the last two years.”
KB: “Thank you!”
NK: “Especially this, we’ll call it ‘the comeback year’, your senior year, definitely deserve that honor, deserve everything going for you. Thank you so much for coming in.”
KB: “Yeah, thank you so much.”
NK: “Of course. and that’s Kira Brownell, a 2022 Prep Athlete of the Year.”
Copyright 2022 Wyoming News Now. All rights reserved.