John C Kramer
My name is John Kramer but I like to be called by my initials “J.K.”. This nickname was given to me growing up on teams that had a large number of boys named John on them (John was a very popular name back in the 60’s because of John F. Kennedy). I grew up in the mid-west (St. Louis, Mo.) and swam summer league until I was 11 then joined a year-round swimming team called Sugar Creek Swim Club. I trained under coach Jim Tyanan and qualified for Junior Nationals where I won the 200 Back (1:52.02), took 2nd in the 400 I.M. (3:59.13), and scored top 8 in the 100 Fly (52.45), 200 Fly (1:52.03), and 100 Back (52.45). My Senior year in high school I qualified for the 1985 Olympic Sports Festival held at the Louisiana State University where I was able to meet aquatic legends like Steve Lundquist and Greg Louganis. I attended the University of Tennessee on a swimming scholarship where I was able to train under Olympic Coach Ray Bussard and Tennessee swimming legend John Trembley. I earned All American status (Top 8 at N.C.A.A.) three out of four years, qualified for the 1988 Olympic Trials, and in 1989 won the Southeastern Conference Championship in the 100 Fly (47.12) defeating teammate and Gold Medalist Mel Stewart. I started coaching swimming in college because I liked working with kids and found I had a knack for it. After college I spent two summers working at the United Swimming Clinics in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. While coaching these clinics, I got to learn from some of the best and brightest college swim coaches in the U.S. In 1993 I had the opportunity to travel with the Nashville Aquatic Club National Team to Jacksonville, Fla. To train doubles (two-a-day practices) during the Christmas break. It was there that I was able to meet and coach with Gregg Troy (2012 Olympic Head Coach) who was at that time the Head Coach of the Bolles School Sharks. which was the host club for our training. In 1995 I moved out to California to become Head Coach of the Morgan Hill Makos where I coached for a total of 12 years. Later I moved to Los Angeles where I had the pleasure to work with a number of very talented athletes at the Zenith Aquatic Program. One of these swimmers, Ike Shirakata, matured into the fastest 14-year-old 200 Flyer in the country along with being ranked top 10 in the US in 8 different events ranging from the 50 Free to the 400 IM. I’m an A.S.C.A. level 3 certified coach who believes that greatness can be achieved if you’re given the right tools and possess a positive mind set. My motto is “PRACTICE DOESN’T MAKE PERFECT, PERFECT PRACTICE DOES. DO IT RIGHT WHEN IT’S EASY. DO IT RIGHT WHEN YOU’RE TIRED. DO IT RIGHT WHEN YOU’RE RACING.” During my 31 years of coaching, I’ve been fortunate enough to have coached countless swimmers to U.S. National Age Group # 1 Rankings. I’ve worked with 5 Olympians (two of them were World Record Holders). In my fifth year of coaching, while I was at the University of Tennessee, I got to work with 200 Butterfly Gold Medalist and World Record holder Melvin Stewart and 200 Backstroke Silver Medalist Tripp Schwenk. After college, three age groupers I worked with eventually went on to Olympic glory: Ashley Whitney (1996 Olympic Gold medalist in the 4 x 200 Freestyle relay), Julia Stowers (Gold Medalist in the 4 x 200 Free Relay at the 2000 Games), and Margaret Hoelzer (Bronze 100 Back, Silver 200 Back, Silver in the Medley Relay at the 2008 Games, and a former World Record in the 200 Back at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials). I’m very excited and proud to now be the Head Coach of the Rapid City Racers. I look forward to the challenges and the bright future of our great team here in Rapid City, South Dakota.