BME’s Kathryn Ackerman to Compete in Olympic Swim Trials This June

The results of the qualifiers will determine which U.S. athletes will attend the Olympics in Paris later this summer.

Graduating BME senior Kathryn Ackerman has successfully combined her passions for biomedical engineering and swimming during her time at U-M. She has been a member of the U-M swim team for the past four years and has received All-American and All-Big Ten honors.  

Ackerman will be competing at the Olympic trials during the week of June 15 in Indianapolis. The results of the qualifiers will determine which U.S. athletes will attend the Olympics in Paris later this summer. In order to compete at these trials, there are time standards that an athlete has to meet two years prior to the Olympic year. “Once you make that time standard, you’re then qualified to compete at this meet,” she added.

“I’ve had an absolute blast being on the Michigan team,” Ackerman said. “My Michigan experience has meant the world to me, honestly. “I’ve been very fortunate to be on this team with this specific group of individuals for the last four years. This team is very relationship driven and every connection I’ve made here has been so special. As a junior and a senior, I’ve felt myself transition to a role as more of a leader.”

Ackerman noted that swimming has offered her a structured lifestyle, providing skills that transfer well to academics. “It’s taught me very strong time management skills, and that’s really helped me to succeed in the BME department,” she said. “Having a structured schedule, where I have practice, class, practice, and come back and do work really helps me keep focused on all the assignments and tasks that I have to complete on a day-to-day basis.”

Ackerman has also bonded with the BME community and encourages other students to keep following their passion of engineering and connecting with each other. “The first couple years of engineering undergraduate are very difficult,” she said. “But I felt that my academic career improved and got more exciting as time went on. I’ve loved meeting all of my classmates and talking to them about their future plans, where they’re going in the next year, and just learning from one another, too. I think that that’s so valuable in the BME community. Having the chance to connect with one another through lab groups and continue to learn from each other throughout each semester. Become friends with those people in your class because they’re great people.”

Ackerman’s specific focus in BME is in the neural engineering track. After graduation and interning this summer at Stryker in Portage, Mich., Ackerman will pursue a Master’s degree in device development at Purdue University. “With the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to COVID, I’ll be moving to West Lafayette this fall to swim and study, and I’m very excited for that because my younger sister is also going to be a freshman next year on the Purdue swim team,” Ackerman said. “So I’ll get to have a year where I swim, compete and go to school with my younger sister, which is probably what I’m most excited about.”