Jan. 15, 2014
BY ROBBY VERONESI
With her second semester as a college swimmer just getting underway, Heather Lundstrom certainly has had a successful career so far.
The freshman out of Parkway North High School in St. Louis, Mo., has made her mark on college swimming -- not too bad for an athlete who started swimming year-round about four years ago.
"About sophomore year of high school was when I started club," said Lundstrom. "Before that I just did YMCA a couple times a week. "Other people had asked me if I was going to (swim year-round). My dad didn't want me to start too heavily because he didn't want me to get burnt out. I finally just made the switch."
The chill, calm and collected Lundstrom has resorted to letting her swimming to do all the talking. In her first year as a Lady Vol, the butterfly specialist has already been named an SEC Freshman of the Week twice, including this week after winning the 200-yard butterfly for the fourth time this season.
The No.1 recruit coming out of the state of Missouri, Lundstrom had no intention of coming to UT, but a visit to Allen Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center soon changed that.
"I didn't even think about college swimming until the summer before senior year," said Lundstrom. "I came here on a training trip before, and hadn't considered it as one of my options. Then, (head coach) Matt (Kredich) talked to me at Juniors that summer and I really liked him. When I came here, I just fell in love with everything and with the atmosphere."
Lundstrom is just one of a group of freshmen which has provided UT with a spark in place of last year's graduates. Along with Patricia Forrester and Michelle Cefal, the three are known as the "Freshie Fleers."
"We're all suitemates, so we're all pretty close and we all swim together," said Lundstrom. "I think the freshman class is pretty close. We all work hard and are not too serious all the time."
This class has a fairly important role to play, taking the place of an impressive departing class of seniors from last season, which includes Kelsey Floyd, one of the most decorated Lady Vols in recent history. Now serving as a manager for the Lady Vols, Floyd holds top ten times in eight individual races and 19 medley relays.
Sometimes known as a fly specialist, Floyd currently holds the top time in the women's 200 fly (1:54.17), two spots ahead of Lundstrom, who achieved her 1:56.60 time at the AT&T Winter National Championships in December. Throughout the season, Lundstrom has benefited from having Floyd by her side.
"It's a lot to live up to," said Lundstrom. "She's awesome. I kind of idolize her (but) she's a good role model."
If the rest of Lundstrom's career is anything like her first semester in college swimming, the St. Louis native may see her name alongside her role model in several Lady Vol records.