Kristin Kohrt has lived in several states, and overseas. And wherever Kohrt goes, she takes a desire for excellence with her.
Which makes for a good teacher and good swimming coach.
“One of the things that I strongly believe in, even when I teach, is high standards,” Kohrt said. “So when I coach, it doesn’t matter as much that they get their best times as it does that they tried their hardest. I want them to be the best they can be, but I want them to believe that they can be.”
Which is good news for the Hobbs High varsity swim team. That drive, and the desire to drive others, could mean the Eagles have years of success in the pool ahead of them. Kohrt was recently named as Hobbs head swim coach, replacing Amanda Byers, who stepped down. Kohrt had been involved with the program from 2009-13, then had a second stint as Hobbs assistant coach spanning the last two years, with time living in Germany in between.
Kohrt is excited for the opportunity to run the Hobbs program, move it into the future.
“We have a lot of freshmen who came out last year, which is good,” Kohrt said. “And we have a lot of parental involvement, which is great.”
Kohrt’s swim coaching résumé goes beyond the friendly confines of Hobbs High School. She has also been a volunteer swim coach at Notre Dame University – yes, that Notre Dame; Wake Up the Echoes, Fighting Irish, and all that – where she taught Physiology and where her daughter Nicole was an All-American swimmer.
Kohrt also taught USA Swimming, and she has coached in Washington state and Indiana, among other places. Her husband works for URENCO, which has taken them around the country and across the Atlantic.
Since 2015, Kohrt has been back in Hobbs, and teaches Health in the school system. She returned to the Eagles’ varsity swim program as an assistant in 2019, at Byers’ request.
“I told her, ‘I love the kids; I want to coach the kids,’” Kohrt recalled. “And she said, ‘That’d be great.’ We just had a great relationship the last two years – I did a lot of the coaching, and she handled the organization.”
Kohrt now steps into Byers’ role, and is looking to fill her own former assistant’s position with one of two applicants who used to swim for her. Whomever joins Kohrt’s staff, she is excited about the team’s potential.
“I have a passion for swimming,” Kohrt said, “and I’m trying to build the program back up again.”
‘One of the things that I strongly believe in, even when I teach, is high standards. … I want them to be the best they can be, but I want them to believe that they can be.’
Hobbs High School swimming coach
Kohrt says the program once boasted roughly 40 swimmers, and now has about half that, part of which, she thinks, might have been due to moving from the high school to CORE. “I think COVID kind of set everything back as well,” Kohrt said.
There has even been a promotional video shown to Physical Education classes in an attempt to draw interest, at least let prospective swimmers know that the program is out there.
The Eagles could certainly use some better numbers. During an early-morning practice session at The Core on Wednesday, 10 of the expected varsity returnees were in attendance. But the swimmers are dedicated and thrilled with their new coach.
“Coach Kohrt is a really good coach,” said Benjamin Miller, who will be a sophomore this fall. “She’s always looking for ways to improve everyone on the team. She’s always really nice and wanting to help us improve. She’s always there when we need her.”
“She also teaches you, besides swimming, head strength – mental strength, I guess
– which also helps a lot with school,” said Sara Rados, who will be a senior in the fall. “She’s really good at technique, and she’s really good with form. The way she teaches, the way she instructs, is very helpful. She points out things that other swim coaches have never pointed out that made everyone on the team a lot faster.”
It seems to be a mutually satisfying coach-swimmer association. The athletes improve their swimming, improve their times, and Kohrt gets to see that happen and know that she played a major role.
“The athletes’ faces when they get a good time,” Kohrt said, regarding what she most enjoys about coaching. “They either get their state time, or they’ve improved their time by dropping it significantly.”
Kohrt used Miller as an example, referring to his big improvement at the district meet.
“His face was like he got the best present in the world,” Kohrt said. “And that’s why you do it.”