Matthew Kendall got his first taste of competitive swimming in eighth grade, later than some of his competitors this season. The CAS senior, who was born and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey, has loved being in the water ever since.
“I had been in a very non-competitive swim team in the summers since I was about 5,” Kendall said. “In eighth grade I was still playing baseball and football but I really started progressing in swimming more, and my summer swim coach at the time encouraged me to get into competitive club swimming. It just really took off from there.”
The NYU men’s swimming and diving team, which had an extremely successful season by all measures, has enjoyed having Kendall suit up for them in the pool this season. The Violets were perfect in head-to-head team competitions, doubling their opponents score in seven of their nine matches. Now, with their season over, they are coming to terms with losing their seniors. In and out of the pool, they will sorely miss Kendall next year.
When it came time for college applications, Kendall was intent on coming to NYU.
“I chose NYU because of the city and the great academics,” Kendall said.
Kendall was recently named NYU player of the week for his performance at the final NCAA Division III Championships. He finished fourth overall in the 200 yard breaststroke, setting a new NYU record with a 1:59.82 time. He later poked fun at NYU sports culture about receiving the honor.
“It feels good to be named player of the week,” Kendall said. “I’m surprised someone actually knows there are sports here at NYU at all.”
When he’s not in the swimming pool, Kendall enjoys reading, playing golf and, naturally, going to the beach.
After graduating from NYU, Kendall plans to attend medical school. As of now he is unsure whether he will continue swimming competitively, but said he may try to qualify for next year’s Olympic trials.
Kendall said that swimming improved his life outside of the water as well — being part of a team was a highlight of his experience.
“The most important thing I got from being on the team were the relationships,” Kendall said.
Junior teammate Krista Traub stressed Kendall’s impact both in and out of the pool.
“Matt is definitely one of the hardest workers on the team,” Traub said. “But he likes to have fun during practice. His personality lightens the mood. As a captain he is always willing to help out with team events and hang out with everyone outside of the pool.”
A version of this article appeared in the March 31 print edition. Email Kyle Luther at [email protected]