In recent years, Rowan Men’s Swimming and Diving has put together a dominant run throughout the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), with the Profs capturing five of the last six NJAC titles.
And there is no doubt that senior Kevin Yanagisawa has played a gigantic role in that success.
Yanagisawa is a biomedical engineering major at Rowan University. His career got off to a hot start in 2018-19, with Yanagisawa leading the team with top times in the 500 freestyle, 1000 freestyle, 1650 freestyle, as well as the 200 butterfly.
He also recorded a time that qualified him for the NCAA Division III Championship B cut race in the 1650 freestyle at the Metropolitan Conference (METS) Championships, earning him the METS Championships Rookie of the Meet.
On top of that, Yanagisawa’s performance throughout the year earned him NJAC Rookie of the Year honors.
“He works as hard as he possibly can to get better,” Head Coach Brad Bowser said. “He gets himself in a position to win every time.”
Yanagisawa took a leap in his second season, earning NJAC All-Conference First Team honors in the 200 butterfly and the 500 freestyle, while also being an honorable mention in the 400 individual medley.
With Yanagisawa improving on a year-to-year basis, Coach Bowser claims the answer is obvious as to where Yanagisawa has improved the most throughout his career.
“Maturity wise, it’s night and day,” Bowser said. “Nothing has changed in the perspective of how we rely on him, but his maturity and how he became a leader for these guys throughout the past couple of years has been remarkable.”
It has not all been sunshine, however. Yanagisawa knows and recognizes that his hard work did not come overnight and that he had to scratch and claw for his success.
“I think it’s very underrated just how much time and effort you have to put in on the back end to see the results on the other end,” Yanagisawa said. “We’re training basically all year… We train all that time for one swim at the end, and you have to swim fast at that time in order to win your conference or go to Nationals.”
Even with all of Yanagisawa’s success, Coach Bowser believes that he has not yet reached his peak.
“The hard part is that he’s a teammate with one of the best swimmers in Division III,” Coach Bowser said. “He just falls onto a team where he has one of the best guys in Division III as a part of it… He knows that if he wants to be recognized even more he has to be amongst the best in Division III.”
The main thing that Yanagisawa is worried about is the recognition and respect he gets from his teammates.
“I know my position on the team as a senior and a leader,” Yanagisawa said. “I’ve definitely felt the respect from my teammates… Everyone has their job to do on the team.”
With Yanagisawa’s award-winning career at Rowan winding down, it is clear that he has accomplished a lot during his time as a Prof. However, it is just as clear that he is hungry for more as we enter the stretch run of the season.
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