Start talking to Kourtney Fosse about what she loves most about swimming, and some form of the word “fun” inevitably gushes forth.
Having fun is what Fosse hopes to experience first and foremost this year during her final season with the Fairview swim team, regardless of the results she posts. The fun and festive atmosphere in Madison, Wis., was a big reason why Fosse chose to sign with the University of Wisconsin over other tempting collegiate suitors.
And, perhaps most importantly, it was the realization of just how much fun Fosse garnered whenever she was in the pool that helped elevate her skills dramatically a few years go.
By the time Fosse completed her sophomore season with the Knights, she had been bombarded by repeated sermons from Fairview girls swim coach Bob Smartt about just how dominant Fosse could be if she devoted herself to swimming year-round. Fosse did just that, and less than two years later she has evolved into one of the top individual swimmers in the state.
“It was really that I had been pushed by Bob to try it year-round. He always said I wouldn’t believe how much better it would make me,” Fosse said. “It was only a couple days after that (sophomore) season that I missed it and realized, ‘Wow, maybe this is something I want to do every day.’
“With just doing high school and summer swimming, I always did other sports and I’d be in shape, but I wouldn’t be in swimming shape. When you swim every day, you never lose that. You never have to build it back up.”
It is not as if Fosse was undedicated during her first two seasons with the Knights, as she placed fifth in the 100-meter breaststroke as a freshman and finished sixth the following year. After that season, however, Fosse joined the club program at RallySport, and the results of that decision were on display at the medal stand of last year’s Class 5A state finals.
Fosse earned the 27th individual state title in Fairview history, yet the first in the breaststroke, when she finished in 1:04.04 to edge Lewis-Palmer’s Laura Day, who once again will be a threat in the event this season.
Fosse also swam an outstanding breaststroke leg in the medley relay, leading the Knights to a second-place finish.
“She was a relatively late starter to club swimming,” Smartt said. “She was the fastest non-club swimmer in the state, no doubt. Once she went into club, it really made a big difference. She has been a big contributor all along. Not just in the water, but in group activities and things outside the pool, too.”
Finding a way for Fosse to contribute to the Knights’ state title hopes outside her specialty in the breaststroke will be one of Smartt’s focal points at the outset of the season. Fosse also helped Fairview to a third-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay, but in her other individual event, the 50 freestyle, Fosse was unable to advance past the preliminary heats.
That is certain to change this season, as Fosse is essentially a lock to earn points for the Knights in another event. Regardless of which event that is, Fosse also is a lock to have as much fun as she can along the way.
“I’ll be happy with whatever happens,” Fosse said. “I enjoy the competition. I don’t care either way if I win state or not. I try not to have expectations, or say I am going to win this race or get this time, because that can take the fun out of it. Or you just get mad if it doesn’t happen. I’m looking to have fun and really enjoy my last year here.”