July 11, 2007

It seems there IS life after swimming. Just ask Andy Steenrod '06. Last week the guy won the Men's 2 Mile Open Water Challenge hosted by the Kenosha Barracudas. As if that wasn't enough, the very next day brought the invitation to A-Rod and Kelli Klepel's '06 (she finished 3rd) August wedding.

A-Rod's a great story of Carthage swimming. He didn't exactly leap off the page when I was first introduced to him. He had decent grades and so-so times. He snuck into the Illinois state meet with a 2:06 IM and I think his 500 was around 5:07. It was my first recruiting class and while I was trying to get ANYONE to look at Carthage, Andy and his recruitment were largely overshadowed by other guys were were after. About the only thing notable about the kid was the fact that his father was Carthage's 1978 MVP and his high school mascot was a Pretzel.

For four years though, this guy churned and churned. Each fall he faced some new freshman rival. Each year he risked a little more, made the right choices (yes, even Kelli), and never once sought out the limelight. I'm not sure if he ever walked away with any of our team awards, but four years later A-Rod was everything we could ever ask for in a Red Man. He developed into an exemplary team captain, dropped down to 4:42 in his 500, became the first Carthage swimmer under 10:00 in the 1000, got himself an NCAA Cut and became a CSCAA Academic All-American. Not too bad for a 5:07 freestyler, and just a glimpse of what lies ahead for Mr. Andy Klepel.



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