Kurt Blohm won a state swimming championship in 2002. He was a collegiate national runnerup in 2005. He was a two-time collegiate conference swimmer of the year.
Despite that, the 2002 Wilmington High School graduate admits “I was not completely devoted to swimming. I had a lot of other hobbies, I still do.”
Don’t take it the wrong way. Blohm loved to swim then and still does to this day. When he was in the pool, he was totally focused on being a better swimmer.
But he uses the world “balance” when it comes to swimming and the rest of his life.
After WHS, Blohm landed at Penn State University, swimming for the Nittany Lions.
“I didn’t really get recruited by the bigger name schools because I kinda came on late,” Blohm said, noting Ohio State did go after him. “I was totally undecided. I didn’t know if I even wanted to swim (in college).”
Blohm admits swimming at the Div. I level “ran me into the ground.” After a semester, he left the swim team and his scholarship was revoked.
He didn’t want to give up swimming entirely, so he transferred to Div. III Hope College in Holland, Mich. There, he was runnerup in the 50-yard freestyle at the NCAA Div. III national meet. Blohm was a two-time Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Swimmer of the Year. He held the conference record in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events as well as the 100 back and the 200 free relay.
In 2006, Blohm was an NCAA Academic All-America selection as well as the recipient of the Hope College Otto Van Der Velde All-Campus Award, which is given to the senior who contributes the most to the college in athletics, scholarship and student activity participation.
“I had a great college experience,” Blohm said. “I did a lot of great things in college, like Engineers Without Borders, that I wouldn’t have been able to do (at the Div. I level). I wanted to remain a well-balanced person and not be just about swimming like a lot of Div. I swimmers, where that would become my life.”
Growing up in Wilmington, Blohm was active as an athlete throughout the year, including swimming.
“I played almost every sport growing up, except football,” he said. “I was active in soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis. I dabbled in a whole of of sports. I still do to this day.”
Soccer was his favorite. He said his WHS squad winning a league championship in boys soccer was one of the highlights of his athletic career. “That group of individuals was very good,” said Blohm, who was a starting defender on that title team.
While he swam with the Clinton County Barracudas as a youth, he switched to the Countryside YMCA team in Lebanon when he turned 16.
“That’s when you decide you’re serious about this, the time you decide to get good,” he said.
He still, however, wanted that balance in his life.
“I’m a guy that needs to recharge,” he said. “I needed to relax. I needed breaks in the summer.”
Blohm still plays soccer and swims today. “I still enjoy the act of swimming,” he said. “It’s exhilarating. It gives me a high.”
But he also enjoys rock climbing and playing the drums.
“I’ve been a drummer my whole life,” he said.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports