Emily Kopp, a resident of Abingdon for the last 14 years and a senior at Catholic High School in Baltimore, is taking her academic and swimming skills to the Eastern Shore later this year, having committed to attend Washington College in Chestertown.
“I first looked at Washington College at the very end of my sophomore year or the beginning of my junior year. I had looked at Elizabethtown and other small schools around the Maryland-Pennsylvania area, but Washington College’s atmosphere and their swim program and their biology program really pulled me in, so I kept on going back to them,” Kopp said. “Every time I visited another school I would always end up comparing them to Washington College and Washington College always won out.”
At Washington College, Kopp will study biochemistry, continuing her studies from her time at Catholic High. Kopp is in the biomed program at Catholic and is a member of four honor societies: English, Spanish, Science and National. She is the president of the English National Honor Society.
Kopp will also swim in college, the sport she’s been competing in since she was seven. Kopp started swimming in the summer for Fountain Green Swim Club. From there, she joined USA Swimming with Arena Club and is currently swimming with the Y in Abingdon, where she started in 2016.
Kopp attended St. Margaret’s School in Bel Air through eighth grade.
As for high school, Kopp was co-captain of the swim team at Catholic High in both her sophomore and junior years.
She currently holds the school’s individual record (1:09.79) for 100 butterfly. She also shares records in the 200 medley relay, 200 free relay and 400 free relay. Kopp swims the breaststroke leg in the medley event and she leads off in both free events.
Kopp just likes swimming.
“Speaking from a competition standpoint, because I have been swimming competitively for so long, it’s a really good in-between with a team sport and individual sport. I’ve tried out other sports when I was younger, but I always ended up going back to swimming,” she said. “So, it’s not just like getting better at your own technique and improving your own times, but it’s also as a whole team. When you do relay events and stuff like that, your whole team is cheering for you, your whole team works together to get that best time. So, it’s like a bit of both worlds.”
Kopp also talks about having her mom, Jo Ann Kopp, as her high school coach.
“It’s a little interesting, I’ll tell you that,” Emily said with a chuckle. “Honestly, she’s been around the swimming community for such a long time, that I trust what she says and how she sets up the meets and everything like that. I definitely trust her as a coach. It took a little bit of getting used to though, having my mom as the coach, but besides that.”
With mom as coach, Kopp helped lead her team to its first-ever swimming championship in the IAAM C Conference, edging John Carroll for the title in 2020.
Despite getting back in school physically, Kopp and her teammates won’t have the chance to defend last year’s title as a swim season is not happening this year. “It should have been, but unfortunately we didn’t find a pool, so we will not be having our season this year, which is a little bit of a letdown, but also somewhat expected,” Kopp said. “I kind of wanted to finish it out in my senior year, but couldn’t do that, so.”
Kopp is doing in-person schooling four days a week, which she says started last week. Fully masked, Kopp attends school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
A for the future, look for Kopp to stay involved in the sport.
“I currently coach right now, so I think maybe for a couple of years in college, I’ll continue that. I don’t know how long I will though, because honestly I eventually will turn more toward my career path,” Kopp said.
“I do want to continue swimming, even just for myself after college just to stay in shape and to not forget all the technique that I worked so hard for. I definitely see myself still swimming after college, I just don’t know if I’ll continue doing it competitively like on a Master’s team.”