Kierstin Newell is a role model to every Branford athlete on how to progress from local youth program to national prominence. She first competed in Short Beach Days where she dominated the swimming events. At the age of nine she was convinced to join the Branford Rec. StingRays where she came under the influence of Branford Hall of Fame coach, George Miles. Under his guidance Kierstin rapidly progressed and by the time she entered Branford High she was a dominate force in her age group in the state of Connecticut.
Before her career at Branford High was over she held seven out of eight individual school records and all relay records, five of which still stand today. At the Class M and Class S state championships over her four years in high school she won all eight individual state championships that she competed in and was on six winning relays. She set records in the 200 and 100 free in both Class M and Class S that have never been broken. At the Open State Championships she won four events and was on two winning relays. She led the Branford team to one state championship and three runner-up finishes, including a State Open where the Branford team outscored every team in all divisions in swimming.
Kierstin was no longer Branford’s little secret as she was named Connecticut Swimmer of the Year by USA Swimming, Nike and the New Haven Register. In addition, she was now competing on a National level and was a senior National Qualifier. She was one of a handful of swimmers nationally invited to the National Gold Select Camp at the Olympic Training Center. She was All-State and All-American all four years and was ranked as high as seventh in the nation in the100 free.
The result was a full scholarship to Providence College where she continued her outstanding career by being named to the All Big East Team, captain, most valuable and set records in the 50 and 100 freestyle that have never been broken.
After graduating from Providence in 1998, Kierstin returned to Branford where she served as an assistant coach to the StingRays for two years until she secured a full time job teaching in Rhode Island. Just this fall Kierstin returned to Connecticut and is now teaching reading in the Hartford Public Schools.
Throughout Kierstin’s amazing run in swimming she had the strong support of her family. You could not ask for more supportive parents than dad (Glen) and mom (Sandy) who encouraged but never pressured her. Her siblings Karl, Erika, and Jon-Erik have all been there for Kierstin while finding success in their own chosen fields.
In the thirty-seven year history of the Branford Rec. StingRays and Branford High School swimming, no Branford swimmer has ever dominated the sport like Kierstin has. She is a most worthy addition to the Branford Sports Hall of Fame.