Ichigo Takikawa, Daily File Photo
With her college swimming days over, Kiera Janzen has moved on to compete in international waters.
The former Minnesota swimmer participated in the Pan Am Games in Toronto from July 10-26. Janzen and three United States teammates made history at the event in the 4×200 relay, shattering the previous Pan Am Games record by almost seven seconds.
“It was unreal; we were fired up all day,” Janzen said. “The relay is one that the Americans have always dominated, and we wanted to go out there and make that statement.”
Prior to the relay, Janzen swam in the 200-meter freestyle, where she placed sixth. The six-time collegiate All-American said she was not happy with the result and wanted to pick things up during the relay.
Janzen was the first off the block for the United States’ relay team, looking to get off to a good start against the international competition.
“I just wanted to get us ready to go,” Janzen said. “I knew Canada and Brazil would lead off with their strongest swimmers. They had really good runs the night before, so I wanted to put us in the best position I could.”
Janzen did not disappoint. She swam her 200 meter leg of the relay in under two minutes, something she said she’s only done one other time during her swimming
“In an objective sport like swimming, times mean a lot,” Minnesota swimming and diving head coach Kelly Kremer said. “Being under two minutes for a female swimmer
crosses a border from really good to great.”
Janzen’s teammates Allison Schmitt, Courtney Harnish and Gillian Ryan followed her strong lead as well.
All of Janzen’s teammates finished under two minutes on their legs of the relay.
The team ended up with a time of 7:54.32, breaking the previous Pan Am record for the event of 8:01.18, set in 2011 by the United States.
Janzen’s Pan Am run has come to a close, but she’s going to continue to work this summer with more gold dreams in mind.
Janzen said she plans to relocate to Athens, Ga., where she’ll train with a group of fellow post-grad swimmers at the University of Georgia in hopes of making the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I’ll definitely be at trials next summer,” Janzen said. “I think my best shot at making the Olympic team will be in the 200 free, so I’ll probably be focusing on my sprint speed and gaining as much experience as I can.”
Additionally, Janzen will prepare for the Law School Admission Test, which she plans to take this fall.
Despite what will be a very hectic schedule, Janzen keeps going with one goal in mind, one that has been reinforced regularly during her time at
“When I first started this road when I was 6 years old, I wanted to make the Olympic team,” Janzen said. “I’ve never really given up on that, and Kelly has believed in me and what I can do.”
Coach Kremer knows that Janzen will be able to go the distance in the pool after watching her develop over the years.
“She’s as persistent as they get. She’s one of the hardest workers we’ve had here at Minnesota,” Kremer said. “She’s never satisfied; she always wants to be better. She’s constantly looking for ways to improve, and over four years, every step along the way was a step toward something bigger.”