The Brothers Klein: Bryce Training for Olympics, Carson Wins Two State Titles
Mar 25, 2015 10:35AM
● By Kevin
Carson (left) and Bryce (right) Klein. Photo courtesy of Krista Klein.
The Brothers Klein - 2015 Feature Story [8 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
Just three years ago, Bryce Klein stood on the top of the podium, as a junior, winning the 2011 5A Texas high school state championship in diving for Carroll High School. A year later, he set the state record in the one meter, scoring 622 points. On Feb. 21, Klein, a sophomore at Southern Methodist University, saw the action from the other side as he watched his brother capture two individual state titles.
Carson, a senior swimmer for Carroll, won the UIL 6A Championship in the 200 free in the second best time ever swam by a Dragon swimmer. He also won the 500 free for a rare "double" individual state championship.
“It’s hard to explain how special it is,” Bryce said. “It really is something I’m so thankful for. Having the ability to watch your brother succeed, find happiness, and finish with a really solid performance like that ... it makes me happy.”
Carson has been a state qualifier for the Dragons since his sophomore year. He made it to the state meet in 10th grade in the 500 free. He then swam at the state meet in 11th grade in the 200 free, 500 free and two relays. This year he was a part of a Dragon swimming and diving squad that won its fifth straight state championship.
“He was a mainstay on both our fifth place 200 free relay and our third place 400 free relay,” said head coach Kevin Murphy of the team captain. “His work ethic and maturity really shined through this year as a senior, leading, not only by spirit, but by example also.”
He was selected the District 10-6a Boy's Swimmer of the Year and the Region 3-6a Boy's Swimmer of the year. He earned Automatic All-American times in both of his individual events and as a member of both the 400 free relay and the 200 free relay.
“It was a really hard training year for me,” Carson said. “The year before this, I got sick right before state. This year, I did a lot with nutrition and staying healthy. I worked twice as hard and it paid off. It felt good this year being senior captain.
Carson started his career as a diver until he was 13 years old, when he made the switch to swimming. He said he loves the family atmosphere on the high school team.
"It makes it fun, training with friends," he said. "The training is better. You enjoy going to practice, even at 5:30 in the morning. That’s been the highlight for me. I would never love the sport unless I love the people in it. It makes it all worth it."
He hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps, looking to major in finance. His father, Jeff, was a swimmer at the University of Hawaii and SMU, two of three schools (LSU is the third) he’s looking to attend. If Carson attends SMU, he’ll join the family’s legacy, as his sister Regan attends as a triple major (math, French, electrical engineering), and his mother, Krista, is an alumna.
According to SMU’s athletic website, Krista “was an All-America selection and a two-time NCAA Championship and six-time Southwest Conference Champion at SMU. During her career, she also was a three-time U.S. Senior National Champion and member of the United States National Diving Team from 1988-94. She was the winner of the 1991 NCAA Diver of the Year Award, the 1990 and 1991 Dallas All-Sports Association Champions Award, the 1990, 1991 SWC Scholar/Athlete award, the 1991 GTE Scholar/Athlete award, the 1991 Southern Methodist University Scholar/Athlete award and the 1991 Texas woman of the year award, the 1991 NCAA Post Graduate Scholarship award.”
She was coached by Bryce’s current head coach, Jim Stillson. She now coaches the GC Divers. Her mother, Ida Wilson, is a masters diving national champion. Her late father, Dick Wilson, was a long-time announcer for USA Diving. The Kleins have one other son, Reid, 14.
Carson is happy to have the support of his entire family.
“We all like to compete and all have fun doing it,” he said. “Even though mom and dad aren’t doing it currently, they love seeing us succeed. We love competition and having that in the family makes it fun to be good at something and making them proud.”
Whenever he has a tricky math question, Carson said he goes to Regan, who also helps Bryce, a finance major and pre-law minor. Bryce and Carson constantly bounce tips and support off each other, as well.
“Bryce chose diving and Carson chose swimming, but I am confident that either one would have excelled at the other one's main sport if they had chosen to specialize in the other sport,” Murphy said. “They do actively and visibly, support each other as most brothers would do.”
Bryce also had the opportunity at the state meet to see a former teammate join his ranks of greatness. Nate Hernandez, a Dragon diver, won the 2015 Texas 6A State Championship in diving, with a score of 613 points, just 9 points shy of Bryce's State record of 622 points. Hernandez's score is the second highest in the history of Texas high school diving. The two competed together on the same club team.
“Nate Hernandez is an unbelievable talent,” Bryce said. “He’s doing dives people his age aren’t even thinking of right now and he’s performing them incredibly. He’s going to be an incredible diver the next few years.
“The record is a great thing and it was really fun to get. At the end of the day, what I remember most about the thing was the team atmosphere and winning the titles together. To me, it’s not about the numbers or the trophy. It’s about being a part of that section of people. Seeing Nate get up there and perform the way he did and take that spot was unbelievable. If he would’ve gotten the title, I would’ve been just as happy as I am now.”
Hernandez placed third in state last year, is a three-time All-American and two-time team captain. This year, he beat out an Olympic qualifier from the previous Olympic competition.
Bryce redshirts this year at SMU to train for the Olympic qualifiers for 2016 and hopes to also qualify in 2020. Stillson has been an integral part in his training.
“A lot of people have that dream,” he said. “Me and Jim are working toward that. Internationally and nationally, we have goals to earn a national title or to have a shot at making the Olympic meet. For me and my coaches, it’s all about having really big goals, then having intermediate goals and have it all work toward the career as a whole.
“The games is something that is such a far off thing and it gets closer and closer. Before you know it, it’s there. You really have to train for the Olympics every day. It’s very tough to make that meet. Going for the Olympic goal since a young age has helped me have that drive. I’ve had the opportunity to go to nationals and trials and meets out of the country. It’s all helped me keep the fire going. I’m very thankful for having that drive and people giving me those opportunities.”
Both brothers are thankful for the support they’ve gotten over the years from each other, their family, coaches, friends, teams and the Southlake community at large.
“Southlake is great,” Carson said. “If I was in any other town I don’t think I’d be as successful as I am. It’s the greatest town out there. I love it. Coming out of here, just like my brother and sister, it has a lot of success stories. I’m glad to be one of them.”