‘There’s no such thing as setting goals too high’

Published 1:00 pm Sunday, March 10, 2019

A.L. graduate prepares for upcoming NCAA Championships, Olympic swimming trials

Now in her junior year at the University of Minnesota, former Albert Lea swimming standout Lindsey (Horejsi) Kozelsky, is still making waves as a member of the Gophers swim and dive team.

Nearing the end of the 2018-19 season, Kozelsky is gearing up for the NCAA Championships.

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“NCAAs, which is our national meet, will be at the end of March,” Kozelsky said. “So that will be the big meet that I’ll be resting for, and I’m hoping to get close to some records. I really hope to get close to the American record in the (200-yard breaststroke), but we’ll see.”

Another opportunity Kozelsky is preparing for is the trials for the 2020 Olympics. She missed the cut at the 2016 trials, but feels confident as the new games get closer. The trials will take place in June 2020 in Omaha, Nebraska, but despite being almost a year and a half away, Kozelsky has already started training for them.

“It just works out so well with my swimming,” she said. “It will be my final year of college swimming then Tokyo in 2020, so I’m definitely going to push for that, and my coach and I are working towards that now.

“That’s something that people don’t take into consideration sometimes. You have to train for at least two years for the trials, so it’s not something that you can just decide on the spot. So, for sure I’ve been working towards this. I went to the 2012 and 2016 trials, so this would be an amazing way to cap off my swimming career.”

Kozelsky has had a decorative career up to this point. Before graduating high school, Kozelsky set the Minnesota all-class state records in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley. She was also named the Athlete of the Year at the high school All-State banquet her senior year.

The Minnesota swim and dive team is currently preparing for the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas. The championship starts on March 20 and run through the 23. (Photo/Craig Lassig)

In her freshman year at Minnesota, she didn’t miss a beat getting right back to her successful ways. She was named an All-American in her first year that included a second-place finish and school record in the 100-yard breaststroke at the 2017 NCAA Championships and a Big Ten Championship as a part of the 200-yard medley relay.

Her sophomore year was no different, breaking her previous records in those previous races as well as being a part of the team that set the new school record in the 400-yard medley relay.

She talked about what it was like for her to be able to step into immediate success in her freshman year.

“I was definitely nervous my freshman year,” Kozelsky said. “You always read about certain athletes that peak in high school, so I just had to put the work forward, see what happened and not put too much pressure on certain times or placements.

“I just fell back on the amazing coaches that I had in high school. I’m really grateful to have coaches that pushed me, but then also cared for me as a person. That’s exactly what my coach, Kelly Kremer, has done for me up here. I’m so grateful for him every day and the things he does for me as a person.”

When she has free time, Kozelsky said she has really gotten into reading. She also likes to spend time with her dog and her church community, and face-timing with friends and family back home.

With all the success Kozelsky has experienced in the pool, she had some advice for any young athletes who want to continue their careers at the collegiate level.

“Don’t count yourself short just because you’re in a small school or small program,” she said. “Always try to set your goal high and do whatever you can to achieve those goals. … Make sure that you know the resources available to you. I know the high school has a lot of people in the athletic department that are awesome and can connect you with people you might not have known about. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to put the extra work in. There’s no such thing as setting goals too high when you have the desire and drive.”

Kozelsky has been training for the 2020 Olympic Trials which will take place in Omaha, Nebraasa on June 21-28, just 27 days before the games start in Tokyo. Kozelsky narrowly missed a spot on the 2016 team. (Photo/Craig Lassig)

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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