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by Greta Van Meeteren

February 26, 2010

Embrace the fly!

Jennifer Kyff started swimming competitively for the Silver Streaks in the late 80s. Due to an illness in her family she had to leave the Streaks and shortly after, she swam for Roosevelt High School in 1989. Kyff swam at the YWCA in South Yonkers. She dreamed of swimming in a better facility and hoped that one day, swimmers in Yonkers would have better conditions to train in. After a 13-year hiatus she joined Yonkers Masters in 2004 and her dream came true. Starting at the bottom she set out to obtain the same level of fitness she had had in high school.

In 2005 a teammate suggested they go to the USMS Short Course Nationals. Only qualifying in one event, Kyff traveled down to Florida hoping for what she called a miracle—to medal in the 50 free. Kyff wanted to medal badly, but her coach at the time told her the odds of breaking a sprint time by a second would be highly impossible at her age. "It was the best thing anyone has ever said to me because I don't like being told I can't achieve something that I want badly enough," she says. After medaling eigth in her age group for the 50 free she set a goal to become faster and to improve her performance in the other three strokes. Kyff's professor, Charles Goslin, from Pratt Institute once told her: "Never give up, never give in," and this became her motto.

Currently Kyff is training with the Silver Streaks and swims with Yonkers Masters. In 2006 she competed in the USMS Short Course Nationals and medaled in four individual events and two relays. Kyff competed in the 2006 FINA World Championships, breaking her 100 free LCM time and she swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco. "This is proof that anything is possible if you put your mind to it," says Kyff.

Kyff is very active. She currently swims three days a week. During the summer she takes this down to two days a week and she cross trains with other activities. Kyff's workout distances will vary from 900 meters to 4,200 yards. It all depends on where she is training that day and what her goal is. Kyff prefers pool swimming and only swims in open water when she can get kayak or boat support, during organized races.

"My favorite event is the 50 free. I love swimming butterfly. If you're a freestyle sprinter and you want to become stronger, embrace the fly," says Kyff.

Go the Distance helps her keep track of the amount of swimming and other exercise she does. "My advice for other participants is if you can do just once a week GREAT! Don't be intimated, sign up for ‘Go the Distance’ and do your best. If once a week is all your schedule can handle, just do once a week. Baby steps can lead to great things," she says.


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