"To be in Sydney was the real reward for me and to win a medal was the icing on the cake," said Kowal, a silver medalist in the 200m breaststroke.
She is a part of the BREAKOUT! swim clinic.
"That I get to learn more stuff about swimming," said Sydney Spuerl who participated in the clinic.
The clinic is taught by former Olympians or national team members all around the country.
"She told you what you did wrong because she was looking at everybody," said Chelsea Gebauer, another participant.
But she didn't focus on the "wrong" things. She shows them that there isn't much of a difference between the kids and where she started.
"A lot of kids often see us on TV competing and they think 'oh my gosh, they must've been these great swimmers from the get-go'. And being to tell them, 'oh no. We started out just like you, maybe even worse'," said Kowal.
Kristy teaches third grade in the town where she grew up in, Redding, Pennsylvania. It's pretty evident during the clinic that she's great with kids.
"Just being around kids, it's always been something that I've wanted to do and that I was passionate about," said Kowal.
She told the kids her personal story about how she missed the Olympics the first two times by just fractions of a second. Those hard times in her career made it easier for the group to relate to her.
"Don't ever give up on your dreams, no matter how many times you fall short on them," said Kowal.
After the clinic, Kristy had a spaghetti dinner with the group where they could ask her questions and get to know her outside of the pool.