Bainbridge’s Kevin Houseman is eyeing a junior world team selection in Palo Alto this week
FEDERAL WAY — Kevin Houseman’s dreams didn’t start big.
As a young age-group swimmer, Houseman enjoyed swimming with his friends for Bainbridge Island Swim Club. As he grew bigger and stronger those dreams and goals changed.
Houseman is eyeing the biggest stage of his young career this week as the recent Bainbridge High graduate competes at the U.S. National Swimming Championships this week in Palo Alto, California.
Houseman is seeded in the 200-meter breaststroke and 100 breaststroke. The 200 breaststroke is scheduled for Thursday with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m. The 100 is Saturday.
“I have a ton of goals,” Houseman said of nationals.
Among them is to make the finals and compete for a spot on Team USA’s Junior World Championship team. A top-two finish in the finals would put him on the team.
He also wants to get his U.S. Olympic trials cut in the 200. He already has a 100 breast qualifying time.
Finally, he wants to compete against the top breaststrokers in the nation. It will give him a good gauge of where he sits nationally heading into college, he said.
The development of Houseman’s athleticism didn’t come overnight, but the talent and ability were always there. All three elements took off last summer. That’s when Houseman’s transformation began during a spate of races, including the Husky Invite, in the fall and winter of 2018, said BISC head swim coach Carolyn Ackerley.
“He wants to be the best 18-under performer in the nation,” Ackerley said. “His confidence started to grow and he started to see himself as a contender. It was at that point that we started to say, let’s not worry about your times. Let’s see how you do when you’re in a head-to-head race and just win it.
“Kevin can swim fast at surprising times.”
The improvement gave Houseman, who did a lot of work in dry-land training to build his strength, a big boost in his confidence and put him on the radar of college coaches. Houseman signed to swim for Northwestern University earlier this year and he will head off to Evanstown, Illinois, next month. He’ll swim at the junior national championships next week, staying with extended family for two weeks in California.
“Thinking bout it now, so many of our swimmers do long course,” Houseman said of his soon-to-be Northwestern teammates. “I’m hoping that will help me, maybe who knows I’ll be going after Tokyo 2020. Certainly finaling, that’s the goal right now at trials (in Omaha next year). I definitely have a lot to improve on.”
Ackerley said Houseman is at his best when he comes out aggressive in his races.
“He finds a way to finish.”
It’s a long road ahead, but Houseman wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
“I enjoy it, pretty much every aspect of it,” Houseman said. “I just love being competitive.”