Being unsuccessful at Drury would have been a true challenge. That's what Kelly Kremer says.
He also says that he understands the value of a "student first, athlete second" philosophy better now than he did while at Drury. "There is no question that although I continually stated academics as my top priority [as a student], I generally felt that without swimming I would have been lost. I loved competing and loved the success of our team. Swimming brought focus to my life. Now I am just so grateful that my swimming afforded me the opportunity to get the first-class education that Drury provided."
Kremer earned the bachelors in 1992 and the masters in 1994 and today is assistant men's swimming coach at the University of Minnesota. He also teaches in the university's sports studies program. He uses his Drury background daily. "Drury, my professors and my coach, Brian Reynolds, really shaped my views on education and how I wanted to approach teaching and coaching."
Kremer admits that he loves competing and enjoys being part of a successful team. His own record of success is long. He dominated his sport in all four of his years at Drury, setting numerous Drury and NAIA records. He was a U.S. Open finalist and then qualified for the Olympic trials in 1992. It probably is no surprise that when he was connected to the team, it won national championships - four when Kremer was a student, two when he was assistant coach. "I don't believe I did anything special at Drury. I cannot imagine a more supportive atmosphere than the one I found at Drury. The professors and coaches were absolutely the very best. All I did was simply follow their lead. They led the way for me to be successful."
Kelly knows that his love for the education profession stemmed from his out-of-the-pool experiences at Drury. But he feels it is true also for several of his colleagues. "Off the top of my head I can think of several ex-swimmers in this field: Steve Boyce, Cashel Mack, Eva Ericksson Kremer, Aaron Hawks, John Barnes, Brian Reynolds, Clayton Cagle, Chris Cotton and Sean Nunn. I think all of these, just like me, realize the lasting impact being a student-athlete has on their lives." As coaches and teachers, they now spread that Drury philosophy in ever-widening circles, like ripples on the surface of a pool.