What started as a hobby for 7-year-old Kara Eisenmann became a lifelong passion for the senior swimmer.
As a decorated young athlete, Eisenmann said she was unaware of the possibility of swimming at a collegiate level.
“My passion grew the more I started to swim as I got older,” Eisenmann said. “After joining a swim team when I was 10 years old, I eventually won awards and made it to Juniors and then Nationals. I even met Olympic athletes and eventually realized that I wanted to be real and take this sport seriously.”
In the summer before her junior year of high school, Eisenmann said the guidance of her coach, Craig Harris, with Lakeside Aquatic Club really enhanced her swimming skills.
“I tried out for a couple of events for the Olympic trials and my times were about 0.1 second short from advancing further,” Eisenmann said. “It was upsetting being so close and not getting where I wanted to be. Later during our last meet of the season, I did really well in the 100 fly and 200 fly, and although it was after the time cut off for making the Olympic trials, I received a lot of attention from college coaches.”
Eisenmann was also on the swim team for Lewisville High School, where she was a four-time state qualifier with eight finishes in the top nine in the 100 back and 100 fly. She set school records in the 50, 100, 200 and 500 free, the 200 IM, 100 back and 100 fly, and even set records in the 100 back (SCY, LCM), 100 fly (SCY, LCM) and 200 fly (SCY, LCM) for her club team.
Eisenmann said throughout her swimming career, Harris has influenced her the most to pursue swimming at a higher level and is like a second father to her.
“He was extremely knowledgeable about the sport, and the team and I really grew through him,” Eisenmann said. “He always had my back, and I always knew that he believed in me. To me, that was so special.”
After taking two other college visits, Eisenmann said A&M was her last and best visit. She immediately knew College Station was where she belonged.
“When I came to Texas A&M, it was outstanding,” Eisenmann said “The relationships I was able to make in just one visit was incredible, and it reminded me so much of my club swim team. I could definitely see the determination and the goals that were being set amongst everyone when it came to athletics and academics. Everyone had a genuine love for the school and that really stood out to me.”
In 2017, Eisenmann’s dream of becoming a collegiate athlete came true, and her success has been evident since.
Eisenmann earned her personal bests at the Speedo Champions Series - Southern-College Station in the 200 free (1:52.36) and the 200 fly (1:58.39) as a freshman. Then during her sophomore year, she swam a career-best in the 200 back (1:58.73) and the 200 fly (2:00.64) at the Art Adamson Invitational.
One moment that stands out the most to Eisenmann took place during her junior year at the SEC Championship meet when she beat her personal best in the 100 fly (52.67).
“I didn’t know what to expect at this meet, but swimming the 100 fly at SECs was my favorite moment,” Eisenmann said. “My teammate, Sam Siebenaller, and I both competed in the event and we got first and second within our heat. We were not predicted to win the heat, but we did it together for Texas A&M with our best times.”
Now as a senior in college, Eisenmann said she is excited about this season and is adapting to the many changes due to COVID-19.
“This provided a realization of how much swimming means to everyone on the team,” Eisenmann said. “Being able to talk to your friends everyday, work out and to be part of a special team really stands out, and when quarantine took place, we were unable to do those things. I think everyone appreciates the sport more and are even more motivated to be great.”