Two of the top distance swimmers to come out for Malibu High in recent years will have the chance to train together in the pool next fall.
Malibu Sharks senior swimming standout Kennan Hotchkiss will be a member of the University of California-Santa Barbara Gauchos swim team next year; his older brother Logan Hotchkiss, a former Sharks champion swimmer who recently wrapped up a stellar swim career at UCSB, will be training with the college squad in preparation for the 2020 U.S. Olympic swimming trials.
Logan, 22, is looking forward to hitting the pool with his brother.
“I feel like he hasn’t had any training partners that are pushing him super hard,” Logan said. “The team we have here will really help his progression as a swimmer.”
Kennan, 18, decided to head up the coastline for college after also considering joining the swim squad at the University of California-San Diego.
“Over time, I just leaned more to UCSB,” he said, adding that his brother’s experience in Santa Barbara helped make the choice easier.
Logan talked to Kennan a bit about swimming in college but didn’t push him in the Gauchos’ pool.
“I think this is the right school for him,” Logan said. “It’s like Malibu up here, too. It won’t be too much of a difference.”
Right now, the high school Hotchkiss is looking ahead to next month’s CIF competition where he will face off against an eventual teammate.
“I’m looking forward to racing against a future Gaucho swimmer, Dominic Falcon, there,” he said.
Kennan’s time of one minute, 43.74 seconds placed him eighth in the 200-meter freestyle at last May’s CIF Southern Section Division III Swimming & Diving Championships. The imminent Gaucho’s time of 4:38.15 placed him fifth in the 500-meter. He also led off the 4x50 free and 4x100 relay teams for the Sharks. Kennan was the 2018 Tri-Valley League MVP in swimming.
With the Malibu Seawolves, a local swim club, Kennan swam the 200-meter in 1:15.16, the 400 in 4:06.35, the 800 in 8:29.54 and the 1,500 in 15:59.71 at the Los Angeles Invite last summer.
The long-distance swimmer said his swim in the 1,500-meter showing was his best achievement so far.
“I want to get a better performance at CIF,” he said.
Logan wrapped up an impressive college career last month in which he swam to school record after school record, after joining the Gauchos as a freshman walk-on four years ago. This came after he snagged 10 CIF Southern Section Division titles and four Division IV records during his years as a Malibu Shark.
Logan is the school’s record holder in the 200-, 500-, 1,000- and 1,650-meter. He was named to the 2019 All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Men’s Swimming and Diving first-team in the 200-, 400-, 500-, 800- and 1,650-meter.
He is proud of his college career, but said he wish he would have swum a little faster in signature event, the 500-meter, at his final meet, March’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. He finished 19th in the swim.
“I was hoping to be top 16 or top eight,” he said. “I didn’t have quite the swims I wanted, but I’m still happy with everything I accomplished each season.”
A month earlier, at the MPSF Championships, Logan set a new school record in the 500-meter with a time of 4:14.39, which broke the UCSB record he had previously set. His speedy swim also established a new conference record. Logan said that was his best performance in college.“At the meet there was a lot going wrong—it was an outdoor meet this year, it was really cold—so I took everything I have learned over the years to warm up correctly and get myself in the right mental space for it and hit my pace right,” Logan said. “It felt really good, swimming it.”
Logan set a school record and won the championship in the 1,650-meter with a time of 15:00.49 and won the 200-meter in a record time of 1:34.53 at the championships. He was also part of two MPSF-winning relay teams in the 400-meter and 800-meter.
Logan got faster in the water each collegiate season. He advanced to the NCAAs for the first time as a junior and set records in the 1,000 and the 1,650 for the first time.
“This year kind of topped it off with best times and new school records in all my events, though,” Logan said of his senior season. “It’s been a fun journey.”
The brothers began swimming as youngsters; Logan wasn’t thinking of being a champion swimmer when he first hopped in the pool.
“I didn’t think of it as a way to get into college until eighth grade,” he said. “That’s when I got really serious about it.”
Kennan wasn’t a big fan of swimming when he first started. He realized he was a talented swimmer when he went to the Junior Olympics for the first time. At age 12, Kennan began swimming 15 hours a week and taking part in six to 10 practices.
“It takes a lot of time, but it is worth it,” he noted.
Kennan and Logan said the drive to get better propels them ahead in aquatic activity.
“It’s a team sport in some aspect, but a lot of it is you just trying to progress your time and get better,” Logan said.
Kennan said Logan’s record-setting turn as UCSB swimmer is motivating.
“It’s amazing,” said the younger Hotchkiss. “It sets the bar high for me. It shows me you can actually achieve these types of things.”
Kennan said he is aiming to swim toward competing at the NCAA championships, also. His older brother, an environmental studies major, has a few more classes to take in the fall, so he will train with the Gauchos in preparation for his shot at Olympic glory next summer and Kennan’s first collegiate season.
“It will be a lot of fun having him in the distance group with me,” Logan said.