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Boys’ Swim and Dive: Featured Athletes

Annie Weight, Features Writer

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Photos courtesy of the team.

Our boys’ swim and dive team has been dominating the playing field— or pool, rather— for years. This season, they’ve carried on the legacy and, after winning sections, are state-bound. When head coach Chris Morgan was approached about featuring an athlete of the month, he said he couldn’t possibly pick just one. Singling out any individual person wasn’t going to fly with this team; they’re a brotherhood, Morgan assured. Instead, one swimmer or diver from each grade, eighth through twelfth, was interviewed to get a better idea of the team as a whole. 

Swimmer Emilio Santoyo Lopez (8th grade)

Lopez has been swimming for a long time; ever since his parents started him when he was 5 years old. His favorite events are the 50 freestyle, 100 free, and 100 backstroke. About the swim team, he comments, “We spend time on a lot of technique . . . [the coaches] really try to bring the team together because then we can have a much better experience. We really don’t know what to expect in practice.”

Diver Reese Eisenbart (9th grade)

Eisenbart started diving when his mom signed him up in sixth grade. He says of his teammates, “Everybody has this really tight bond and are more brothers than teammates. There’s always experienced people ready to give that help you need. Sometimes the hours can get kinda tough, but it is definitely doable.”

Diver Grant Wambold (10th grade)

Wambold started diving the summer before ninth grade. “It’s a brotherhood . . . everyone pushes each other to do their best [and] really gets along,” he says of the team. “Our coaches are the best in Minnesota.”

Swimmer Ryan Knipping (11th grade)

Knipping started swimming after signing up the day before his seventh grade season started. His favorite events are the 50, 100, and 500 freestyles. On his team: “I love them like brothers and hate them like brothers sometimes, but at the end of the day we’re just a big family. Our coach tells us never to settle: For our times, or in school, or the way we treat each other, you can always do better. The best part is waking up everyday knowing that you’re gonna be working hard, and that you’re gonna have thirty-some other guys with you working just as hard.”

Swimmer & Captain Jasper Appleton (12th grade)

Appleton’s favorite events are the 100 free and 100 fly. He started swimming at 7 because his sister got him into it. “We’re hardworking . . . it’s a brotherhood. [Our coaches] care so much about their athletes. [Practices] are hard and grueling but the humor of our team gets us through it,” says Appleton. He signed a National Letter of Intent to swim at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in November.

Within each interview, the recurring idea was one of brotherhood and family. This is one tight-knit team, with great prospects at state! Come support your fellow Cats this weekend at the University of Minnesota as they compete against teams from all across the state.

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Boys’ Swim and Dive: Featured Athletes