Longtime swimming ambassador Kevin Polansky has been named the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America's Ben Franklin Award-winner. Awarded to the individual, or organization, whose efforts and or innovations best promote the integrity and enhancement of the student-athlete ideal. The late Polansky will be honored at the CSCAA's 58th Annual Awards Banquet on May 7th at the Hilton Orrington in Evanston, Illinois.
If you have been to a Division II, NAIA, or one of innumerable conference championships, you have heard the voice of Kevin Polansky. Kevin was more than the “voice” of many meets, he was one of swimming’s biggest ambassadors. After a record-setting career at Mankato State, Polansky went onto one of the most successful high school coaching careers in Colorado history and founding of the Loveland Masters Swim Club. Following the founding of Polansky Financial Services, Kevin also became an advocate for alumni involvement in the preservation of teams.
He was best known, of course, as the golden voice of so many championship meets. If you were a swimmer at the Division II, NAIA or one of innumerable conference championships, Polansky not only announced your name, but, owing to his preparation, got the pronunciation right. Getting names right, however, was only part of what made Polansky special. “Kevin did so much homework before the championships. It wasn’t something he would take likely,” explained longtime South Dakota State head coach (and former Franklin Recipient) Brad Erickson.
Added Fairmont State Head Coach and chair NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Committee Chair Pat Snively: " He had a genuine love for swimming, the swimmers and coaches at the meets, and in particular, Division II. He had personal connections to almost all of us and really cared about us, our teams, and did everything he could to make the Championships as successful and exciting as possible for everyone."
Polansky had a warm and caring approach to his announcing, as if each swimmer was one of his own. He knew how to pronounce all their names, he knew their stories, and he helped more than one break pool, meet, conference, and national records by getting the crowd to rally behind
“He got to know a lot of athletes personally and made an impact on them," Erickson explained. "He would tell them good luck before the race, and say, ‘I knew you had it in you’ after they’d succeeded.”
Unfortunately, his predictive powers were all-too correct. Kevin would often tell others, "When I go it'll probably be in the pool." Regrettably, Kevin Polansky passed away January 6, 2018 while at a Masters swim practice in Loveland, Colorado