Two All-Americans transfer to Gophers

Krista Theis

Two new transfer students have been making waves for the Minnesota women’s swimming and diving team this season.

Juniors Roxane Akradi, from Southern Methodist, and Erin Forster, from Georgia, have brought experience, talent and leadership to the Gophers.

The coaches and swimmers said they are excited to have the two new additions because of the fresh perspective they bring from their previous schools.

“Coming from two teams that have been in the top five and top 10 in (the NCAA Championships), they kind of have a little more perspective of a higher caliber team,” senior co-captain Jenny Hasling said. “They’ve had different experiences that we can only learn from and benefit from.”

Akradi, a native of Eagan, spent her first two years at Southern Methodist in Texas, where she helped the Mustangs to a seventh-place finish at the 2005 NCAA Championships.

One of the main reasons Akradi transferred to Minnesota was to swim for coach Kelly Kremer, who she knew from club swimming when he was the men’s coach at Blackline Aquatics in Eagan.

“Everyone I talked to just thought the world of Kelly,” Akradi said. “For the longest time, I really wanted to swim for him, so when he became the women’s coach, I decided to come back and swim for him.”

Kremer said he thinks that Akradi has been a great asset to the Gophers and likes her good work ethic.

“She is a very hard worker and a great racer,” Kremer said. “She loves to compete and hates to lose.”

Akradi’s hard work has led her to many high honors in the swimming community. She is a three-time All-American, competed in the 100 backstroke in the 2004 Olympic Trials and has qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials in the same event.

She said her most successful swimming experience so far has been participating in the Swimming World Cup, where she placed third in the 50 backstroke and fourth in the 100 backstroke.

“To swim at the international level and final, and medal in one of my events is really cool,” Akradi said.

Returning to Minnesota has also given Akradi the opportunity to be closer to her family. She said she appreciates all the support they have given her over the years and enjoys having her parents at all her meets again.

Alongside Akradi as a newcomer to the team is Forster, who was a part of Georgia’s national championship team in 2005.

She won the Ohio high school state title in the 100 backstroke and 400 freestyle relay in 2000 and 2004. Forster also participated in the 2004 Olympic Trials. Forster declined to comment for this article.

Kremer described Forster as being pretty quiet compared to Akradi but a very good leader by example. He said she is a very hard worker and does extra work on her own.

“She comes in a couple times a week and works on her kicking apart from the team,” Kremer said.

Akradi said the experience, talent and work ethic of Forster and herself are expected to help the Gophers achieve their goal of winning the Big Ten Championships this season.

Akradi said that commitment to the team is one of the things that keeps her and her teammates motivated throughout the season.

“We are a team striving for team goals as well as individual goals,” Akradi said, “And we’ve worked really hard to achieve them.”