For nearly four high school swimming seasons, Jen Kunz toiled anonymously in the pool with Brewer’s athletes as the lone member of the Hampden Academy swim team. Her results only showed up on the scoreboard at the Class B state championships.
But when Kunz dove into the pool on Feb. 2 and anchored a relay team to a school record, it was a new experience for the senior.
Kunz transferred to Brewer on Feb. 1, and will spend the second semester at the Class A school. She immediately helped her teammates to a school mark of 1 minute, 50.09 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
Larry LaBrie, assistant director of the Maine Principals’ Association, said the transfer was allowed because neither Hampden Academy nor Brewer officials felt the move was made primarily for athletic purposes.
And while her participation in swimming at an established program would have required her to sit out until the end of the season after a transfer, her exhibition swimming did not, LaBrie said.
“It’s our interpretation that she has not been a member of an athletic team,” LaBrie said.
Kunz said she made the move for “personal and social reasons,” in addition to academic ones.
“It’s not that Hampden is worse or Brewer is better,” Kunz said. “All my friends are at Brewer. I plan to go into English next year, and I’m able to get into the AP [advanced placement] class at Brewer. At Hampden, you have to have an `A’ average to get in.”
For Brewer coach Kathy Cahill, the addition of Kunz doesn’t make difference around the pool deck: Kunz has always worn a Brewer suit and cap, and was elected a Brewer captain even before she decided to transfer.
“When we announced that Jen was transferring, it was a surprise to some of our freshmen, because they didn’t realize that she was going to another school,” Cahill said.