Freshman Girl Follows her Passions

Fifteen year-old Kailynne Besser (on the left) jumps up from scanning her grades, editing her photo composition project and joking with her friend, senior Kayleigh Dyer (on the right) in Journalism class. Kailynne Plans to join the swim club, Kalamazoo United in January after she takes a month long break from swimming.

By Felicie Jones, guest writer
“It’s pajamas, swim, shower, school clothes, swim, shower and back to pajamas,” freshman Kailynne Besser said.
Slouching in her seat in Journalism class at 10 a.m. on a Thursday, Kailynne is trying to shake off exhaustion from a night of homework, chores and a migraine to focus on the lecture. Although Kailynne has a full plate with swimming after school, helping her mom take care of her two younger sisters, cleaning the house and completing her homework, she carries it all with a smile.
“I know the day will be over sooner because I stay positive,” Kailynne said.
She reclines in her chair, smiles wide and added. “Also, I know I can sleep at home.”
Her enthusiastic and resilient attitude has been around since childhood. One of her current passions, drawing, began as something she was discouraged from, but she kept creating because she decided to please herself.
“When I was younger my elementary art teacher and dad didn’t think I could draw good,” Kailynne said. “Now they think I’m good. My dad challenges me like, ‘I don’t think you can draw this’ and I get it done. I perfect it and then I show it to him.”
Kailynne doesn’t display the pieces in art shows, but she is confident in showing her artwork to others. She glows with pride while showing the many pictures on her phone of finished face-art on her younger siblings that she did for an early Halloween event called Trunk-or Treating.
Trunk-or-Treating is an event where kids go to their parent’s business, with a guardian, to get treats from the candy-filled and decorated cars of the employees.
“Last night it was at my dad’s work and we went Trunk-or-Treating and I did my sisters’ makeup,” Kailynne said. “One was a Skeleton Bride and the other was a Light Bride. I did their faces.”
When she isn’t drawing, Kailynne constantly thinks about when she can go back into the pool. She stays in sweatshirts and loose pants for both comfort and to quickly change for after school practice.
Swim practice is two and a half hours long every day after school for two months.
Kailynne trains with new friends and enjoys gliding in the water. What she didn’t expect from the sport was an awakened desire to swim no matter her physical condition.
At a home meet in September, Kailynne suffered a shoulder injury.
“I was coming towards the pad to hit it and get my time and then the timers and I heard a loud pop,” Kailynne said. “It hurt like hell, I still swam. I didn’t go to the doctor until a month after it happened because I knew they wouldn’t let me swim for a while.”
According to UWHealth, “50 percent of competitive swimmers will develop shoulder pain and have to alter their training schedule.” As a female swimmer, Kailynne is “three times more likely to develop shoulder injuries than males.”
Still recovering, Kailynne strains to perform daily actions and light lifting but is optimistic about the future, and the possibility to join her college-of-choice’s swim team.
“I was mad, but relieved to be out for some time to recover and get stronger,” Kailynne said.
Kailynne is not planning to slow down as she continues with swim practice to sharpen her skills and become good enough to join the ambitious and conditioned college swimmers.
According to the sports site, NCAA, “the highest ranking college swim teams are out of state, with California University being number one,” but that is what Kailynne looks forward to.
“College swim teams are highly competitive, but if I get really good I might join. I plan on getting better.” She added. “I want to swim where the winters are not very cold. I want to go out of state.”