SM East swim team mourns loss of Hank Krusen, influential coach on last 2 state title teams

Hank Krusen was a familiar presence on the pool deck at SM East the past two years. Photo credit SM East boys swim and dive team.

Members of the SM East swimming community are mourning the death of Hank Krusen, an influential coach who had served as a consultant to the team the past two seasons.

Krusen had been dealing with heart issues for some time. He is survived by his wife Betsy, among others.

A resident of Prairie Village since the mid-1970s, Krusen lived just a couple of blocks from the school. But his primary experience coaching at the high school level had been as the founding swim coach at Olathe Northwest, where he served from 2003 to 2016. Krusen had also held coaching roles at Homestead Country Club and with the Kansas City Blazers Swim Club, both located in northeast Johnson County. Through his work with the Blazers, he coached four eventual Olympians.

Krusen and the Lancers’ longtime head coach Wiley Wright were friends, and two years ago Wright offered Krusen a position as a performance consultant at SM East, where his own daughter graduated in 2000. The team secured the 6A state title both years, extending their current streak of championships to four.

“Hank was a great teacher and leader that everyone could learn something from,” Wright said in a notice about Krusen’s passing posted on the team’s website. “We were very lucky to have him with the program the last two years.”

Krusen, front row, far left, was a consultant on the team that won the school’s fourth straight 6A title earlier this year.