Glastonbury's Kudlac twins leave winning legacy, sign for D1 swimming programs

It was the burning question for Avery and Riley Kudlac, Glastonbury swimming's record-setting sisters.

With elite competitive swimmers, of course, everything is measured in minutes and seconds.

So, exactly who is the oldest of the fraternal twins?

“Avery,” Riley said. “By a minute.”

One minute, and then a lifetime of memories with Glastonbury swimming.

Over the past four years, Avery and Riley have rewritten the Guardians' record books, breaking seven school and and five pool records, both individually and as part of relays.

Two of the state's top swimmers. the Kudlacs both signed National Letters of Intent to Division I college programs last Wednesday. Avery will be heading to the University of Pittsburgh and Riley will go to George Washington University.

The moment was celebratory, but it also marked the end of an era as their time representing the Guardians is coming to a close.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Avery said. “Having the support of Riley and having that person at swim meets that knows the same things that you’ve been through and understands everything — it’ll be hard to not have that in college.”

“It’s going to be super-weird not being with Avery, but we knew that’s what we wanted from the start,” Riley said. “We knew that to grow as swimmers and as people, this is what we wanted.”

Suzie Hoyt, Glastonbury's coach for three decades, said the twins are very different: Avery is very serious and goal-oriented, while Riley is a little more “happy-go-lucky.”

“They’re different people,” Hoyt said. “The way they dress is different, the way they interact is different and it’s refreshing to see that. They’re also very good friends.”

Where they don’t differ is in work ethic and the time they committed to improving their swimming talents.

“Both are focused, their work ethic is phenomenal, and that means that the work in practice from everybody is elevated,” Hoyt said. “You want everyone to come in, take things seriously, work hard, and through that everyone gets a little bit better.”

Avery and Riley have been swimming since they joined a club program when they were five years old, but their athletic interests were not limited to the pool.

“We’ve done tennis, basketball, karate, soccer, gymnastics — I run track in the spring — we’ve done everything,” Riley said.

“We played every sport imaginable when we were little,” Avery said. “We played multiple sports pretty much up until high school, and then stopped playing to focus on swimming. I fell in love with being in the water. At any chance I can, I’ll be at the beach, in the pool, practicing, and just being in the water and swimming.”

“Once we started picking up speed and getting into it,” Riley added, “There wasn’t any turning back for either of us.”

At Glastonbury, they joined a team which eventually became a second family.

Records started to fall, but both swimmers said it was a team effort.

“I honestly feels like those records are from the team, not just us," Riley said. “They get us so excited and they ‘re our biggest supporters and all of our best friends. A lot of our records are relays and I don’t think that’s a shock because we love swimming with all of them.”

“What we do is a reflection of our team,” Avery said. “High school swimming is a team sport, so everything we do is for our team and because of our team. I know I wouldn’t have come back all four years if it wasn’t for the amazing teammates and team culture. It definitely helped accomplish everything that we have.”

Avery verbally committed to Pitt in March, becoming the Panthers’ first recruit for the collegiate Class of 2027. She cited the academic and athletic opportunities at the school, where she will study Occupational Therapy.

“They have a really great medical program there,” Avery said. “And swimming-wise, the environment was amazing, the facilities are great and the support all the athletes get there is just incredible. The opportunity to swim in the ACC on such a powerful team, I just couldn’t turn it down.”

Riley committed to George Washington two months later.

“I realized that this is actually happening,” Riley said of Avery's commitment. “Avery saw Pitt and she just knew and it was her one school. I was kind of going between a few schools, so I felt a little pressure, but I knew my decision would be the right one.”

She pointed to Washington, DC as a big part of her decision, and said she instantly clicked with the team once she met the other swimmers.

"I felt like it was my place to be,” Riley said. “The team is doing very well in the (Atlantic-10) right now, so it will be fun to have some big championship meets.”

Their future schools also compete against each other annually, so Avery and Riley will be together, just for opposite teams.

Hoyt said she's looking forward to seeing what they do at the next level.

“They’ve really grown so much in how they approach the sport and become excellent teammates,” Hoyt said. “I know they will be excellent ambassadors for Glastonbury High School as they go up to their respective colleges.”

As they get ready for their final high school meet, the CIAC State Open at Yale on Sunday, the twins’ advice to the younger swimmers is to stay in the moment.

“You can’t let anything get in your head and to fully appreciate however many years you have left because it really does go by so fast and you’re going to miss it,” Riley said.

“Appreciate all the little things,” Avery said. “There’s going to be struggles in the season and there’s going to be the hard part, but every memory you’ll have is going to be worth it. The friends and family you make in the pool, you’re going to have forever, and that’s the important part.”; @dstewartsports