March 06, 2023
Coach Kraus Awarded Distinguished Service Award by Swim League
Alex Kraus, KO’s long-time swimming and diving coach, received the New England Prep School Swimming Association (NEPSSA) Distinguished Service Award at New Englands this past Saturday. This is only the 18th time in the league’s 60-year history that this award was bestowed.
At the ceremony before the meet, the league’s president said Kraus started with the league in 1986 and has always put the athletes’ experience above everyone else. The KO swimmers on deck held up a hand-painted banner with the words “You Are Loved,” Kraus’s email sign-off to his swimmers. It’s a two-way street and a testament to Kraus’s impact on legions of swimmers.
Assistant Swim Coach Katie Stauss from Williston, who had swum under Kraus, said that Coach Kraus was more than a coach to her but a mentor that everyone on the team looked up to. “When I decided I wanted to be a teacher, Kraus was the person I wanted to emulate,” she said. Although he held the students to high expectations and encouraged them to improve, she said that he always made them feel loved and supported every day and cared more about them as people than as athletes.
Kata Baker, KO’s assistant coach who has worked with Coach Kraus for 16 years, shared similar sentiments. Each of the thousands of students that Kraus has coached, she said, has learned under his tutelage what good sportsmanship looks like, how to handle stress and build confidence, and how to be a good teammate. As the “MacGyver” of high school swim coaches, Baker said she had seen Kraus’s dedication firsthand: coaching on Zoom, adding an extra lane line with pool noodles and rope, and coaching in a bath-sized therapy pool. “He is frustrating humble,” she said. “There is no end to the work he will take on to ensure his students experience the program.”
Former swim coach and Middle School science teacher Clay Miles said, “While he has forgotten more about swimming than many know, he understands that it is the perfect platform from which to teach more than a little bit about life, and he utilizes that understanding to the utmost. Traits such as hard work, courage, perseverance, sp[ortsmanship, patience, grace, and ultimately care and love are at the core of every workout, team meeting, or personal interaction.”
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