By Terry Jacoby/weloveannarbor.com
Swimming photos by Otto Fazekas
High school athletics is often a mix of accomplishments, challenges, huge moments and even setbacks. But what happened a few years ago was something athletes have never encountered – and let’s hope it was a one-time occurrence.
It’s certainly a moment in time Huron’s Drew Lindstrom will never forget. Now a senior and standout swimmer for the River Rats, Lindstrom recalls what happened in March of his sophomore season. Let’s let him tell the story …
“Early on in my sophomore season I had missed the 500 freestyle state cut by 0.11 seconds and then proceeded to miss the cut the next five or six swims,” he recalls. “It was quite the mental block. At the SEC Red meet, I dropped maybe 5 seconds and easily got the state cut. I then tapered for two more weeks in preparation for states.”
Unfortunately, all that hard work and effort wasn’t rewarded. Not because Lindstrom didn’t swim well, but because he wasn’t given the chance to swim at all.
Back over to Drew …
“The very day we were supposed to leave for Holland (site of the D-1 state finals), COVID hit Ann Arbor and we were shut down,” he says. “I remember being on the pool deck with my suitcase ready to go when I found out.”
While disappointed, Lindstrom finds the silver lining – because that’s just who he is. “It was really hard to hear the news, but I’m glad I found out the way I did,” he says. “I was with my team and we all got to go through that experience together. It was really tough for the seniors to have their season end like that.”
If we backstroke to the beginning of Lindstrom’s swimming career, we find him on the starting block at the Orchard Hills Athletic Club (OHAC).
“My parents initially got me into swimming before I could practically walk,” he says. “I’m fortunate enough to live a few blocks away from a neighborhood pool (OHAC), and every summer since I was 5 my parents had me swim for that team. I had somewhat natural talent as a tiny kid so I really enjoyed the sport – I was very competitive and enjoyed winning ribbons.”
Lindstrom said he stayed in the pool, not only because he was a pretty good swimmer, but because of the friendships he quickly made. “I’ve made my closest friends and endless memories swimming,” he says. “I still swim with fellow OHAC swimmers (juniors Alex Moskus and Joe O’Neal and sophomore Kal Bunnell).”
Lindstrom believes in giving back to a sport – and club – that has given him so much. “This past summer I swam my last eligible year for that team and took a job position as a coach,” he says. “It has been amazing to see all these little kids I teach have the same great experiences I had growing up with this sport.”
Lindstrom also has been swimming with Club Wolverine since he was in fourth grade. He credits the nationally recognized club as helping make him a better swimmer. Some highlights from Club Wolverine include the spring of 2021 when they traveled to Florida for Speedo GAIN Championships.
“It was a great experience to swim outside against teams from all over the country and also a lot of fun to spend time at the beach with teammates,” he said. “For personal highlights, over the summer I took second in both the 1650 free and the 1000 free at States. I also was part of the 800 free relay which won gold.”
Speaking of great experiences, Lindstrom says this year’s Huron team “has been a blast.”
“I’ve been on this team for four years and can confidently say this is the year that I feel most like I’m on a team,” he says. “Swimming can really feel like an individual sport but at Huron we try our best to remind ourselves that we are a team, not a group of individuals. And being a captain this year, I’ve been trying my best to keep swimming fun while also trying to strike some passion into what we do.”
Lindstrom has already qualified for the state finals in the 100 free, 200 free, 500 free, and 200 medley relay. He hopes to add to the list in the coming weeks.
Last year as a junior, Lindstrom swam the 200 free, 500 free, and both free relays at States.
“This year I hope to place top three in the 500 at States,” he says. “More importantly though, I really have just had goals to have fun and create the best team environment I can this year. I want to be a great captain and have a blast with my last season.”
Drew, 17, is the son of Andrea and Scott Lindstrom. He swims to a 3.9 GPA in the classroom and also is in Huron’s marching band and symphony band.
Lindstrom has not picked a college yet but plans on studying Mechanical Engineering. As for swimming?
“There are opportunities for me to continue with some universities, but I haven’t made a decision yet,” he says.
He still has a few more laps to swim and memories to make with the River Rats.
“The biggest highlights for me aren’t my times or places,” he says. “It’s just the wonderful memories I have created on this team. For example, I couldn’t tell you what I swam at a lot of meets, but I could go on about the things that happened at the dinners after the meet or the celebrating after a big win.”