Surgeries, injuries and academic studies mixed all in one could be enough for an average student to give up or sacrifice something. But it takes a unique person to block it all out and she comes from a small rural area of Richmond County.
With three surgeries on her and still rehabbing, rising senior Kaitlyn Milstead has not taken no for an answer competing in the sport of swimming. As a walk-on at Randolph-Macon College, Milstead
reflected on the past three college years when it was her passion that said “yes” and her body displayed the term “no.”
“I think I’m just really determined. I feel like I should be able to do everything I want to do and shouldn’t allow anything to hold me back,” Milstead said.
Before attending Randolph-Macon, Milstead competed in several sports for the Rappahannock High School Raiders including soccer for a year, track & field for four years and swimming since the age of three. Her pivotal moment in her swimming career came when she had the fortune of meeting Rada Owen, a member of the 2000 Olympic Swim Team, and being instructed for two years. Milstead would later join a U.S.A. Club Swim Team before high school.
“It was a great opportunity. She taught me a lot,” Milstead said, adding that she was responsible for turning her into a competitive racer in the water.
Milstead competed her freshman year at Randolph-Macon trying to minimize the injuries. Three surgeries forced her to miss her second year and last year was her first return to compete in sprint style racing. She originally competed in a lot of butterfly events.
“I just really like it. I like being competitive, racing and swimming on my own,” Milstead said. “Swimming has been my passion.”
Matthew Milstead, a rising junior at Rappahannock High, said he’s been impressed with his older sister.
“I think she is really determined and no matter what, is going to try and do her best to accomplish her goals both academically and athletically as well,” Matthew Milstead said. “I’m just really proud of her and couldn’t have asked for a better sister.”
Coach Brent Kintzer has also been impressed with her passion over the past two years.
“Kaitlyn is a hard worker and has pushed through when others probably would not have done the same,” Kintzer said. “It says a lot about her character. I am certain that her determination will get her far in life where ever that may be.”
Milstead said she hopes her team will be able to win the conference title this year after placing behind champion Washington & Lee University.
She is expected to be graduating this year majoring in biology. She hopes to go into orthopedic surgery or family practice.