By BRYAN GASKINS Kokomo Tribune
---- — Western’s girls swimming and diving team is gearing up for its opener against Kokomo on Tuesday. Panther standout Summer Brown enters the new season with a lot of excitement after finishing as the state runner-up in 200-yard freestyle last season. She also enters with peace of mind after making her college decision.
Brown will continue her career at Vanderbilt University. She signed with the Southeastern Conference school this week.
“I’m very happy and I just feel so relieved that I finally have chosen my perfect college,” she said. “I can enjoy the rest of my senior year and just get excited to be a Commodore.”
Brown picked Vanderbilt after also considering offers from Nebraska, Iowa, Purdue and Tulane.
Brown said she first started looking into Vanderbilt a few years ago. She liked Vanderbilt’s sterling academic reputation and the SEC’s competitive strength.
“It was always in the back of my mind so when I actually got to Vanderbilt [for a visit], I said, ‘This is it, this is perfect,’” she said. “The coaches are awesome. It’s a fairly new team, but I can tell they have a lot of potential and I can’t wait to be a part of it and help them out.”
Vanderbilt dropped its women’s swimming and diving program after the 1991-92 season. It resurrected the program in 2006-07, hiring Jeremy Organ as the coach. He is now in his eighth season at the school.
Brown expects to compete in freestyle events at the college level. She holds Western’s school records in the 100, 200 and 500 frees.
The three-time Western team MVP has been a fixture at the state meet. As a freshman, she finished 13th in both the 200 and 500 frees. As a sophomore, she was fifth in the 200 and seventh in the 100. And as a junior, she was second in the 200 and sixth in the 100.
She is ready for her final season with the Panthers.
“I’m super excited for the swim team. I think we have a great group of girls,” she said.
Brown is just as impressive in the classroom. She ranks No. 3 in Western’s senior class. She is the president of the student council and the secretary of the National Honor Society. She also has been her class’ secretary for all four years of high school.
She plans to study pre-med at Vanderbilt.
“I want to become a doctor. I love helping people and I think Vanderbilt will definitely get me there,” she said.
Brown’s success in the pool and in the classroom brings to mind her older brother, Ted Jr. At Western, he was a fixture at the state meet, winning the 200 IM and 500 free as a senior in 2003. He went to Notre Dame where he excelled as a student-athlete and later attended the IU School of Medicine. Now, he is a resident in the University of Michigan’s Department of Pathology. He recently was elected the department’s chief resident.