Two members of the 2019-20 Oregon boys swimming team will continue their athletic and academic careers at Division III schools.
Blake Anderson will attend Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, while Aedan Larson will stay in-state and attend Ripon College.
Anderson looked into UW-Madison and Minnesota as a student and possible club swimmer, but he still had the urge to compete as a student-athlete. He ultimately chose Luther over Division III St. Olaf College.
“I liked the atmosphere and coach better at Luther,” Anderson said. “I want to swim and do well, but I also wanted to have a team I could enjoy hanging out with, and I felt that was also a better fit for me.”
Anderson competed in butterfly, backstroke and sprint freestyle events at Oregon. He was a part of the Panthers’ 200-yard medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams that placed eighth at the Division 1 Middleton Sectional as a senior. He also finished 15th in the 100 butterfly (55.56) and 16th in the 50 free (23.72).
Anderson was a part of Oregon’s fourth-place 200 medley relay and 400 free relay at the 2020 Badger South Conference Meet, while also placing fourth in the 100 fly (57.64) and eighth in the 100 back (1:02.66).
He finished eighth in both the backstroke and butterfly at the 2019 conference meet and 15th in both events at the 2019 Middleton Sectional.
Luther coach Aaron Zander sees Anderson sticking with the fly and sprint freestyles. The Norse went 3-3 in dual competition and placed fourth out out of eight teams at last year’s Liberal Arts Conference Championships.
Larson looked into Division II Bentley University and Madison College before choosing Ripon. He was a freestyle swimmer for the most part at Oregon, but also competed in the breaststroke. Ripon coach Ryan Goggans said he’d be good in the free or breastroke, but Larson said he’d be open to swimming different strokes.
Ripon finished eighth out of nine teams at last year’s Midwest Conference Championships. The Red Hawks went 1-7 in dual competition, but will return all six swimmers from the 2019-20 team.
Anderson and Larson are unsure of their major, but both are confident Oregon has prepared them to succeed in the classroom and in the pool. Anderson is looking into majoring in biology or chemistry, while Larson is interested in financial statistics.
“I’ve definitely learned how to manage my time in swimming and school,” Larson said. “I also learned how to manage stress and get over challenges in life.”