Swimmer makes mark on U’s team

Ryan Schuster

Gophers junior swimmer Brian Stroshane’s emotion is contagious. He seems to be everywhere, cheering with his boisterous voice and keeping his teammates loose on the sideline with his quick wit.
He is often found taking a minute between practice drills to make a body builder-like pose on the starting blocks of the pool or singing the lyrics to a popular song off-key, but loud enough for everyone to hear.
“Brian kind of wears his emotions on his sleeve a little bit,” Gophers men’s swimming coach Dennis Dale said. “He doesn’t hide the way he is feeling about things.”
His upbeat and outgoing persona has helped him overcome several hurdles in college. He has managed to stay positive, getting through several difficult situations, while still keeping his extroverted personality intact.
After graduating from Richfield High School in 1993, Stroshane chose to attend New Mexico on a swimming scholarship. He wanted to get away from home and go to college in a warmer climate, away from the harsh winters of Minnesota.
After Stroshane’s sophomore year, the Lobos swimming team and the rest of the school’s non-revenue sports lost all their scholarships, forcing him to come back home. He has since moved in with his parents and enrolled at Minnesota as a transfer student.
Stroshane sat out last season because of NCAA rules governing transfers, and he missed the first half of this year waiting to get his official release from New Mexico.
“It was tough sitting there on the side watching,” Stroshane said. “It made me all the more motivated this year to be part of the team.”
Not only has he become part of the team, he has become almost as much of a leader as the team’s three captains. Stroshane’s expressive personality has gelled perfectly with a fiery Gophers team.
“I feel like I’ve fit in great,” Stroshane said. “Everybody made me feel really welcome when I transferred last year.”
Since transferring, Stroshane has swam career-best times in the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyle events. He is currently ranked in the top 15 in the 500 and 1,650, and the top 25 in the 200 and 1,000 freestyle in the Big Ten.
Because of the Gophers great depth this year, however, Stroshane will not compete with Minnesota at the Big Ten championships. If Stroshane was on almost any other conference team, he would probably be able to swim at the Big Tens. Minnesota is one of the top two teams in the conference this year and is undefeated so far. The Gophers can only bring 17 of the 33 swimmers on their roster.
After only two months of swimming with the team, Stroshane’s short junior season will draw to a close this weekend at the Minnesota Challenge invitational. He will swim in the 200, 500 and 1,650 freestyle events Friday and Saturday in front of family and friends at the University Aquatic Center.
It is his personality and warmth, however, and not his athletic ability, that defines Stroshane.
He got a 4.0 grade point average during fall quarter. Stroshane plans to graduate next spring with a criminology degree and a minor in child psychology. The 22-year-old also plans to be back swimming for the Gophers next year.
No matter how well he does this weekend or next season, Stroshane has already been a success.
“He has overcome a lot of obstacles,” senior tri-captain Matt Schlessman said. “A lot of people would have just given up, but he really stuck with it.”
Swim teams to host Minnesota Challenge
The No. 8 Gophers women’s swimming and diving team and No. 9 Gophers men’s teams take on Nebraska, Iowa State and Carleton this weekend at the Minnesota Challenge. This weekend’s invitational, which runs Friday-Saturday at the Aquatic Center, will be both squad’s last tune-up for Big Tens.
Minnesota’s women’s team will have only one week to prepare for the conference swim meet Feb. 20-22 in Indianapolis, Ind. The Gophers men, however, will have two weeks before they travel to Bloomington, Ind., for Big Tens on Feb. 27-Mar. 1.
Note: Stroshane, and the rest of his teammates who will not swim at Big Tens, will shave and taper themselves for this weekend’s meet.