Different strokes: Freshman Kaidy Stout of West Forsyth is opening some eyes with her prowess in the pool

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 22, 2024

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By Jay Spivey 

For the Clemmons Courier

CLEMMONS — Kaidy Stout didn’t know much about West Forsyth before she started school as a freshman this past August.  

However, one thing stuck out with her. She was known to be a terrific young swimmer, who was proficient in the breaststroke.  

As the school year has progressed, and now that the high-school swimming season is over, Stout, who is 14, has more than opened some eyes about just how good she was this past season, as well as what might be ahead of her the next three years as a Titan.  

The swimming season had barely begun this past December and Stout broke the school record set by Sarah Frisby in the 100-yard breaststroke, which was 1:06.70. Stout broke it pretty easily at 1:06.20.  

Breaking the school record didn’t even faze her. She was already faring well with her club team, Enfinity.  

“I was very excited,” Stout said. “But that was not one of my better times necessarily. The start of my season, like I was not going the best times or anything, so I was just kind of ready to – like I’d already done a 1:04, like not at a high-school meet. So, I was just trying to get my high-school time closer to my club times.” 

Although Coach Sandy Thomerson of West Forsyth is well known on the club-swimming scene because she’s associated with TYDE, she didn’t know of Stout when she arrived at West Forsyth. 

“Not much, only what I had heard about how fast she was in the breaststroke,” Thomerson said. “I did not (know of her) until I heard she was possibly coming to West to swim.” 

The rumor mill started churning at that point about Stout’s talent.  

“She’s a very powerful breaststroker,” Thomerson said. “Her 200 is even stronger than her 100, which unfortunately the 200 is not an event (in high school), but you’ve got to watch her swim it.” 

Thomerson did take notice of Stout at a club meet. 

“I actually, before high school started, there was a meet at the GAC (Greensboro Aquatic Center) that I was with TYDE, and she was obviously swimming there with Enfinity. And I got to see her swim the 200 breaststroke before she actually joined, you know, the team at West. And it was quite something to see. She is an extremely powerful breaststroke.” 

Stout has since broken her own record twice, swimming a 1:04 during the season, and then broke it again just a couple weeks ago at the NCHSAA Class 4-A Central Regional, also at GAC.  

“I was able to get down to a 1:03.50 by the end of the season,” Stout said.  

Her confidence is so high that she might be like a torpedo through the water the next three years, breaking records at West Forsyth. 

“Hopefully,” Stout said. “I kind of focus just on the next year. But I do hope to break a minute.” 

Thomerson, who had announced that she would be leaving after this past season, recently announced that she has decided to stay one more season, because West Forsyth will have seven senior girls and three senior boys.  

“She could be a state champion,” Thomerson said.  

Although Stout won’t be one of those seniors, Thomerson sees so much promise in her. 

“I think the respect, they see she’s an underclassman and made finals like she did they were all in amazement, and even the older ones,” Thomerson said. “And to see how she, she’s not arrogant in any way, shape or form. And that is very nice to see as talented as she is.” 

With some swimmers it’s hard to tell, but according to Thomerson, Stout’s talent is clear. 

“The way she swims I can,” Thomerson said. “Because it is watching her swim that breaststroke you can tell that’s her natural gift.” 

That natural gift might have blossomed when Stout was a young girl growing up in Tucson, Ariz. 

“I just really remember going to the pool In Arizona, you know, because it’s really hot,” Stout said. “it’s a good place to break from the heat. And once I started getting like real swim lessons in North Carolina I remember just really enjoying it and looking forward to it.” 

Stout’s recollections of her swimming as a child were of swimming more competitively at 8 or 9 years old, about two or three years after her family moved to North Carolina, more accurately, Lewisville. 

“It took me a bit, but from the beginning I really enjoyed swimming breaststroke, and I was pretty competitive in that,” she said. “I went to meets and I had my time goals and everything once I got on the actual swim team at about 8 years old.” 

One thing that helped, according to Stout, was starting kindergarten in North Carolina. She also has two sisters – Karsan, 27, and Emersan, 12. As the family settled here Stout started swimming competitively with TYDE at Jerry Long YMCA in Clemmons.  

“When I was 10, I started to have like my first real success,” Stout said. “I went to like the state-wide age-group championships and I won that in both my 50 breaststroke and my 100 breaststroke. I would’ve gone on to sectionals, but COVID shut that down. But that was the first real success I had.” 

She just gravitated toward the breaststroke.  

“I don’t know, I just kind of liked it,” Stout said. “…I liked breaststroke, and I liked swimming it, so I would just try to keep up with the kids who were doing the faster strokes when we were at practice.  And I just really enjoy it.” 

Stout switched from TYDE to Enfinity when she was 10 years old. 

“We kind of just wanted a change and some of my teammates were also switching,” she said. “And we heard there were some really good coaches over there, so we made the switch.” 

Stout is considered a year-round swimmer, which means she swims for Enfinity throughout the year. She doesn’t practice with her teammates at West Forsyth unless they’re on her club team. She just sees her high-school teammates on meet nights.  

“They have to, as serious as it is, it’s not a game like other sports,” Thomerson said. “You’re running a black line up and down the pool. You don’t get the interaction except when you’re stopping in between sets. But that team camaraderie when you can come together. And you either love it or you don’t.  

“And they get weeded out and that’s probably why we lose a lot of kids because swimming isn’t necessarily all fun and games. But if you stick with it and get involved in it it’s a love for life.” 

It’s clear that Stout won’t be weeded out, and the sky’s the limit for her. 

‘I hope to be competitive in the national standings for breaststroke,” she said. “And then I hope to get my IM (individual medley) and everything.”