PHOTO: As an athlete in college, Jeff Kubiak broke five National Collegiate Athletic Association records.
By Elise Wyman,
Jeff Kubiak was 0.12 seconds from qualifying for the 1988 Olympics.
At the 1988 Olympic trials, the US Olympic team only took the two fastest times for each event. Kubiak swam 0.12 seconds after the second fastest time, placing third by a fifth of a second.
“The wonderful thing about the Olympic Trials is you gotta be on when you gotta be on,” Kubiak said.
He started swimming at the age of four, and quickly realized that he had a talent for it. Kubiak went to Davis High and graduated in 1983.
“I remember he was very funny in class, we used to laugh a lot,” said fellow 1983 graduate Mike Wyman.
Kubiak spent a year at Sacramento City College, then a year at California State University, Northridge before taking a year off to train.
After the 1988 Olympics, he gained a lot of wisdom. “I learned that failure is part of the process, and to never give up,” Kubiak said.
Kubiak accomplished many feats including breaking five National Collegiate Athletic Association records, winning seven NCAA championships, winning a gold medal in the 1987 Pan American Games and being ranked in the top 10 in the world for three years.
“Swimming was awesome. I loved it, and I loved working hard,” Kubiak said
He learned a lot from those years of hard work. “The lessons of perseverance and grit and resilience and all the kinda cliche words, but they’re really important because I don’t think young people now are comfortable enough with failing,” Kubiak said.
Kubiak is now a principal at a school in Fairfield. He wants to instill in the kids at his school and his own kids that “we have to fail to be able to reflect, learn and grow.”
An all-around athlete, Kubiak also played baseball, soccer, volleyball and water polo. He competed in swimming until he was 26, and then he became a coach for the next 25 years. “Teaching and coaching go together really well,” Kubiak said.
He is passionate about helping kids get what they need, whatever that may be. “I think we have to be literate, but we also have to be literate in a lot of different disciplines,” Kubiak said.