Profile: Skyline’s Koselka triplets finding great success together and individually

Photo of the Koselka triplets by Suzanne DeVine

By Terry Jacoby /

No, you aren’t seeing double. And you also aren’t seeing triple when you look at the Koselka triplets. Even though they were born on the same day, share the same last name and certainly resemble each other in appearance, Daniel, Catrin and Ellen are three different individuals – and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

But before we get to the differences, let’s take a look at the similarities of the three Skyline High School juniors and children of John Koselka and Suzanne DeVine.

They are all smart, hard-working, friendly, competitive and extremely likeable young adults. They have goals and dreams and strong family values. And they not only get along with one another, but support each other, cheer for each other and very much love each other.

“It’s been pretty great always having two sisters who are my age,” says Daniel. “It is a great support system because if I have a question on something my sisters will probably be working on that as well. It’s also fun because we have a lot of similar interests and get along really well.

“One thing that is amazing is that my sisters come to pretty much all my swim meets and I go to a lot of their track meets or crew regattas so we always have a cheering section.”

Catrin agrees – with a little bit of honest humor thrown in. “It’s definitely nice to have siblings to talk to and compete with, although they can be quite annoying,” she says with a smiley face emoji.

Now, let’s meet each one – as the amazing individuals they have become with the help, support, guidance and love of each other.

Ellen Koselka 

Yeah, she’s the rower.

Ellen discovered crew in middle school at the popular Washtenaw Rowing Center and took to it like a Koselka to water. “I really enjoyed it so decided to try high school rowing,” she says. “The skyline crew team is phenomenal. We have an incredible group of athletes and a great coaching staff!”

Not only did Ellen enjoy rowing, but she’s become pretty good at it as well and has become a key member of one of the top rowing programs in the Midwest. This past fall she stroked the Women’s 1st Varsity 8+, the Women’s Junior 8+, the Women’s 1st Varsity 4+, and also raced the Women’s varsity 1x in Traverse City.

Among the many highlights was that all but one of Ellen’s boats went undefeated in the fall except the junior 8+ where they placed second once. Yeah, she’s pretty good.

“I also thought it was pretty fun to race the single this fall,” she says. “I had been asking to race it for a while so getting to race and win in it at Traverse City was pretty awesome.

“I also raced in the Women’s Lightweight 8+ with Violet Dudley, Helen Ross, Lilly Stevens, Sara Soluk, Rachel Howell, Kit Bellovin, Natalia Portales and coxwain Erin Hill that placed second at the Canadian Nationals last spring and that was very exciting.”

Competing is just part of the fun and excitement that comes with being a part of the Skyline crew team. “Regattas are always a highlight of rowing,” Ellen says.

“We race, play cards and eat really good food so that’s always a lot of fun. This winter I made the watts/kilo board (all-time top 5 record board for weight efficiency for skyline rowing).”

Spring is crew’s biggest season with the biggest regattas on the schedule.

“It’s the season we train for all year, and so it’s disappointing that we won’t ever really get to race together as this same team again,” Ellen says. “I think in general I just always look forward to practicing on the water. Crew practices are the highlight of my school day so I really miss being out on the water. Rowing as a team, there is really nothing like it.”

Ellen, who rows to an impressive 3.992 GPA in the classroom, also plays the viola in the Skyline Symphony Orchestra, is a member of Book Bridge Club and is a member of the National Honor Society.

“My goal for my senior year of rowing is to keep getting faster and to have some great results at Midwests, Nationals and Canadian Nationals,” Ellen says. “I plan on applying to Michigan (definitely my top choice), Notre Dame, Northwestern, Yale and Cornell. I would like to continue rowing in college.”

And she doesn’t have to look far for some family support to help get her where she wants to go.

“My siblings are pretty great,” she says. “We often study together, check each other’s papers, remind each other of homework we have to do (I’ve never used a planner before because I can just ask my siblings what homework we have in each class), help each other with math problems and things like that. We also are super competitive in everything so it is a really good thing that we do different sports.”

Daniel Koselka 

Like his sister Ellen, Daniel found his passion in the water. But unlike Ellen, his passion didn’t require an oar or even a boat. And he quickly took to swimming like a Koselka to water.

“I swam for fun over the summer and with WISC for a long time but it was never my main sport,” Daniel admits. “My freshman year I just thought swimming would be a fun thing to do during winter season. Also, both my parents and my older sister all swam so they were telling me that swimming was super fun. So I joined Skyline’s swim team and ended up loving it. And the more I swam, the more I loved it, and pretty quickly it became my favorite sport.”

The Skyline swim team has a well-earned reputation for success and Daniel had no problem with working hard and trying to help the program maintain its standing. It also helps that he truly enjoys it.

“I’ve really enjoyed pretty much every practice and meet,” says Daniel, who also swims for Club Wolverine. “Skyline swimming has such a great atmosphere and it’s just great to be able to swim with such a great group of guys.”

A few of his highlights include breaking 50 seconds in the 100 free for the first time and when he swam his best time in the 500 freestyle as a sophomore. “I was racing three of my friends and our assistant coach Paul had people guessing which one of us would win. Well, I won, which was really fun. I was honored to be elected captain this year, win most improved as a sophomore and be on the state team as a relay alternate.”

The Skyline swim team is like a family, a subject Daniel is an expert on. He says his sisters helped give him that competitive drive he has when he competes.

“Two things I credit my sisters with giving me is my competitiveness and my sense of humor,” he says. “Since we were little we would always compete against each other in activities ranging from cake baking to homemade obstacle courses. Even during this stay-at-home period, we compete against each other in games, trivia and who can do more push-ups.

“This year was the first year in high school we all had a class together, and even though we would pretty much get the exact same grades we would still argue over who was better at the class. Also, they eat all the cereal.”

Daniel’s goal for his upcoming senior season is to place at states. “I want to go a 47 or under in the 100 free, and I want to swim the 100 butterfly,” he says.

Daniel, who also plays water polo, has a 3.88 GPA. He hopes to swim in college but hasn’t decided where he wants to go after high school. “I’ve always liked Notre Dame, but I haven’t been able to go on college visits and there are a ton of good colleges that interest me. I would like to study history and International Relations in college, maybe political science.”

Catrin Koselka

Unlike her two siblings, Catrin has found her passion on land. She is a member of both the cross country team and track team at Skyline HS.

“I always enjoyed running for fun in 5k races like the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run but considered myself to be a swimmer when I was little,” she says. “When I was 10, my parents signed me up to be a part of the Ann Arbor Track Club because they thought I might like running on a team and I did. From then on, running became my favorite sport and hobby.”

She quickly found her stride. One of her most exciting moments came during her freshman year when her Skyline 4 x 800 relay team qualified for the State Meet and New Balance Outdoor Nationals at the Regional Meet. “Everyone on the relay had run really well and it was the first time that a distance relay from Skyline (club name Tortoise and Hare) had ever qualified for NBNO,” she says.

Originally, Catrin mainly focused on the 1500 and 3000. Eventually, she realized that the mid-distance races were her favorite to run because of the balance between speed and endurance.

“Since joining the Skyline running team, I’ve been to cross country states as part of the cross country team in 2017, and track states and track nationals both my freshman and sophomore year,” says Catrin, whose favorite event is the 800m. “Individually, my biggest highlight from running at Skyline was at the SEC meet my freshman year where I ran a big PR in the 800m and got All-Conference in the open 800 (third) and the 4×400 (first). The weather was really cold and rainy and I just remember being really proud of myself for working through it.”

She is looking forward to returning to a normal schedule and getting her life back on track. “It was definitely disappointing to not have a track season this spring,” she says. “We had a really strong track team and it’s sad that we were not able to compete or train together. On an individual level, I think that I would have improved a lot this season so it’s hard to think that I’ll probably have to wait a year to race. This is definitely an uncertain time in people’s lives right now and I think that it’s important that people do as best that they can to stay safe and take the state government orders seriously. It’s interesting to think that we are living through a time that will make history.”

Her goals for next season is to continue to drop time and improve and help the Skyline cross country team reach the state meet.

Catrin, who has a 4.0 GPA and is a member of Skyline’s Book Bridge, hopes to attend either U-M or Northwestern. “I am planning on running in college because I enjoy running and I love being part of a team,” she says.

She also enjoys being a part of a team at home.

“My siblings and I are very competitive so we make almost anything a competition,” she says. “Naturally, I am very annoyed when I lose (although I rarely do, haha), but I have to acknowledge that I am up against some very smart and talented competitors.”

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