Glastonbury High School senior Riley Kudlac is one of the most accomplished swimmers in school history and next year she’ll be looking to make more history at George Washington University in Washington, DC.
When she first started getting recruited to colleges, Kudlac admitted that she didn't know much about the school in The Nation’s Capital. However, after touring the campus she quickly discovered that it was the place she’d be spending the next four years
“I fell in love with the program and everything that the school had to offer,” said Kudlac, who visited the campus in February. “I realized that I loved everything the team stood for.”
She added that the historic location and meeting her future coaches and teammates during the visit cemented her decision to join the Colonials swimming program.
During her time at GHS, Kudlac was responsible for breaking five school records and four other pool records.
This past season she broke the school record in the 100 freestyle (50.62) and was a leg on the record-breaking 400 freestyle relay. She also set the pool record in the 100 butterfly (56.56)
In 2021, she set a new school record in the 50 freestyle (23.36) and was part of the school record in the 200 freestyle relay.
GHS swimming and diving head coach Suzie Hoyt said that Kudlac is cool as a cucumber before meets, yet turns on the competitive juices when the races start.
“She’s got a relaxed persona, but inside she has a core of steel. She is a competitor,” added Hoyt. “It’s easy to underestimate her because she is always very cheerful, but she loves the competitions. She wants to do her best, not just for herself but also for the team.”
Kudlac started swimming with her twin sister, Avery Kudlac, at the age of five with encouragement from their dad, who was an avid swimmer.
At age seven, Kudlac started swimming competitively and the sport quickly turned into a fulltime commitment.
Outside of swimming at GHS, Kudlac competes in club swimming in the summer and also for the Laurel East Hartford YMCA (LEHY) swim team under the tutelage of swimming coach Kaeley Steinnagel.
Kudlac said she enjoys the challenge of being a year-round swimmer, saying that success in the sport is linked to the time invested in the pool.
“The harder you work, the better you get and that is what I really liked,” stated Kudlac. “You get rewarded for all the hard work you put in.”
She added that the individual swims are great, yet it’s the relays that have been the most rewarding over the years.
The school’s record-breaking 400 freestyle relay team has been swimming the event for better part of the last six years and Kudlac said that the group is so in-synch that they could swim the event with blindfolds on.
“Our relays in the past two years have really been something special for me. We have all grown up together,” added Kudlac, who credited the competition and camaraderie at GHS with allowing her to succeed. “The support system that we have is really special. That sense of family that we have in Glastonbury is amazing.”
Outside of swimming, Kudlac has participated in DECA at GHS and this year joined the school’s initial Knitting and Crocheting Club, which she said allows her to tap into her creative side.
At her next stop, Kudlac will join a Colonials program that has won four Atlantic 10 titles over the past six seasons under the guidance of head coach Brian Thomas, who swam collegiately at The University of Connecticut.
Kudlac, who has competed in nearly every swimming event in high school, says she had an instant rapport with Thomas and is looking forward to specific race training at the next level, adding, “It’ll be super cool because once you get to college your goal is to win and get better and faster.”
Hoyt believes that Kudlac has what it takes to succeed at the next level because of her tremendous work ethic, adding,
“She’ll do whatever it takes to meet her goals.”
At George Washington, Kudlac will study psychology with the hopes of one day working in the forensic psychology field.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin