Swimmer Kristen Wagner Works to Inspire Female Athletes Through Internship

By: Emily Pesquera

In the pool and out of the pool, University of Tampa sophomore Kristen Wagner is inspiring others. Wagner is a journalism major who landed an internship with Swimming World Magazine, a famous news company for all things related to swimming.

This internship is not the only highlight of Wagner’s college experience. Swimming in  college and writing about swimming are both things that Wagner loves.

Starting in a summer league and then deciding to pursue it year round, Wagner has been swimming since she was eight years old. 

This sport is what Wagner grew up with. It helped raise her, taught her lessons, and at the end of high school, she could not see her life without swimming, so she had to continue it in college.

“Swimming in college was the best decision I’ve ever made,” said Wagner. “I’ve found friends that are like family, friends that share the same passion for swimming that I do. Doing this sport in college has helped me grow so much as a person already, I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

From training in the pool to inspiring other athletes, Wagner’s primary focus is to encourage younger female athletes. 

“Growing up, I was on a team with practically all boys,” said Wagner. “I never really had fellow female teammates that were my age to empower one another and to grow from one another.”

Being on a mainly all-boys team at the beginning of Wagner’s swim journey did not knock her down. Instead, it pushed her harder.

According to Wagner, this internship allows her to “be the person you needed when you were younger.”

Wagner pitches ideas about inspiring young female athletes to her editor, John Lohn, every other week. Lohn then picks one statement from her pitches, and she writes about it.

“It’s super cool & very open-ended, so I can pretty much write about anything I want as long as it’s associated with swimming,” said Wagner.

While The University of Tampa’s swim coaches help coach their own team, Wagner is encouraging Coach Jimi Kiner’s daughter.

“My daughters can come over here and be on the pool deck and see my female athletes in the water swimming,” said Kiner. “That inspires them to get into sports and maintain the sports that they’re in.”

While athletics can take a toll on someone’s mind and body, including Wagner’s, she thinks about her younger self every time she gets upset with swimming. 

“I try to remind myself why I started in the first place: for the eight-year-old girl that fell in love with it,” said Wagner.

Whether professional or not, being a female in the sports world is an opportunity that can influence so many others. 

“I think it’s essential for young girls to read about it [being an athlete] and learn about it and realize that we’re all going through the same sort of experience,” said Wagner. 

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