2021 Hall of Fame Inductee: Jameson Kuper ’06

Jameson Kuper was a Bulldog long before he started walking the halls of Notre Dame: his father, Lenny Kuper, has been a fixture at ND for decades. 

While Mr. Kuper was breaking down equations in math, Jameson was breaking school records in the pool. During the 2005-06 season, the younger Kuper broke every individual record for the Bulldogs. Jameson earned All-State honors five times during his time at ND and was named a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American during his senior year. 

Jameson’s dominance in the pool earned him a spot in the Notre Dame Athletics Hall of Fame. 

When he became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2016, Jameson said it didn’t really hit him because like many, life takes over. “(With) married life and kids, it’s not something that was really on my radar,” he said.

When he got the call earlier this year that he would be inducted, Jameson said he felt a wave of emotions. “It was a sense of pride and it was a great honor,” he said. “I can think of plenty more people that are probably more deserving. In a lot of ways, I was shocked.”

While swimming was where he excelled, Jameson also played other sports growing up. 

He said it wasn’t until junior high when he made the decision to focus on one. “I was decent at other sports, but I was always pretty good at swimming,” he said. “With swimming … It’s better if you make that decision early. Whenever I was 12 or 13, that’s whenever I just looked at how I was in swimming compared to basketball or soccer, and I realized that this was my niche. I dropped everything else and really 100% dialed into swimming. That was my seventh or eighth grade year and that’s when I started progressing.”

When he made the switch, he never looked back, and he started winning titles his very first season.

As a freshman, Jameson competed on a relay team that was in the final event of the inaugural Show-Me Conference Championship. Despite there being only three teams in the meet, he said Notre Dame was an underdog as Cape Central was the favorite. 

“We ended up winning on the last relay,” he said. “If we lost the last relay then we would have lost, and we would have won if we won the last relayAnd we did win. My brother was a senior, I was a freshman, and we were both on the same relay. Not many people can say that. I was able to swim with my brother for a year and got to represent the school.”

Jameson said the bonds he formed during his four years are something special. 

After Notre Dame, Jameson swam at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where he broke the school record in the 100 breaststroke.

Jameson said he knew swimming in college was possible after he had a couple of seasons of high school under his belt. 

“Later in high school, probably my sophomore or junior year, that’s when I was pretty sure I was going to swim in college,” he said. “I didn’t know where yet. Then in college — college is where I really improved the most.”

After SIU, Jameson was the swim coach at his alma mater of Notre Dame from 2012-16 where he also taught in the math department at the school. 

Jameson is now a teacher at Cape Central, where his mother taught, and lives in Cape Girardeau with his wife and children. Jameson is also Information Warfare Officer for the U.S. Navy Reserve.