College Athlete of the Month

Jenny Shaughnessy, University of Minnesota“Jenny really excelled in the off-season and has made a name for herself through the U.S. circuit.”


: U of M
Team: Swimming & Diving
Year: Sophomore
Intended Major: Kinesiology

Most parents have to do a decent amount of prodding and pushing to get their children to follow in their footsteps. Not in Rochester’s Shaughnessy family though. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Jenny Shaughnessy’s parents both swam for St. Olaf College and many of her relatives did (and do) swim for other Minnesota schools. It didn’t take much more to convince young Jenny her destiny was pretty similar.

“My older brother began swimming when we were younger and I would come to watch all of his swim meets. I thought it would be more fun to swim than to sit in the stands and watch, so I decided to join the club in Rochester.”

A wise decision; that was at age 7, and Jenny’s been competing ever since. She’s also been setting records and receiving honors ever since, proving her place on the U of M team from the first kick: she earned CSCAA Academic All-American honors her championship season with a perfect 4.0; received All-American honorable mention honors freshman year; was a first-team All-Big Ten selection; and led the Gophers in points at the Big Ten Championships with 67.

“Our team ended up surprising a lot of people by placing 2nd overall (in the conference), with some amazing swims along the way. It was so incredibly exciting to watch the meet, witness all of the hard work paying off and be part of the experience, while representing Minnesota.”

As a freshmen Jenny held the team’s fastest time in the 100 free (school record of 49.93), 100 fly, 200 IM, 400 IM and was a member of the 400 and 800 free relays. This 800 free team set a school record (7:09.15) and won the Big Ten free relay at the league championships. Personally, Jenny set a Minnesota long-course school record in the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 2:19.96, which also was an Olympic qualifying time.

“I cannot describe in words how amazing the past year has been swimming for the U. Being part of a great team of girls who are so close has been one of the best parts.”

After her first grueling season in the Big Ten, Jenny’s summer included very little time off (what she did have was spent hanging with family and friends, camping and vacationing). She competed in six events during the summer, including the ConocoPhilips National Championships and the Grand Prix, which highlights the nation’s top swimmers and Olympians.

“The coaching that I’ve received from Kelly (Kremer) and Terry (Nieszner) is something that I’ve benefited from in so many ways. This year I was challenged each day at practice in new ways, but the feeling of accomplishment after overcoming those challenges makes the whole experience worthwhile.”

Her coaches have similar praise: “Jenny did an outstanding job this summer! During the college season she established herself as one of the top IM’ers in the Big Ten Conference. This summer Jenny established herself as one of the top up-and-coming IM’ers in the United States, “ Kremer says.

Only a sophomore, Jenny has many experiences—and many meets—ahead of her, including her plan to pursue a career in physical therapy (Jenny, herself, has been fortunate enough to avoid any serious injuries). Going into her second season healthy and strong, with an impressive summer, Jenny’s teammates and coaches are no doubt expecting great things. No doubt, so are her parents, who will be sitting in those stands, watching the Shaughnessy swimming legacy continue.

Photos provided by University of Minnesota.