After college, Anderson swims on

The former Gophers swimmer hopes to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Former Gophers swimmer Jared Anderson trains at the University Aquatic Center on May 30, 2014. Anderson is hoping to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

Sam Harper

Former Gophers swimmer Jared Anderson trains at the University Aquatic Center on May 30, 2014. Anderson is hoping to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

by Joe Perovich

Thousands of seniors graduated from the University of Minnesota in spring 2013, and many of them had aspirations of joining the workforce in the near future.

For Jared Anderson, a former Gophers swimmer who graduated last year, graduation meant the continued pursuit of a dream.

“[When] you get out of college, you’re 21 or 22, and you don’t have any way to keep [swimming]. You’re kind of expected to retire,” Anderson said.

But instead of retiring, Anderson, now 24, is hoping to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He’s part of a small group of former Gophers swimmers who train together with ambitions of reaching their sport’s next level.

Minnesota’s head men’s and women’s coach Kelly Kremer works closely with the swimmers.

“To see young people … put real life on hold and pursue a dream … and not want to retire just because they graduate from college, I really admire that, and I want to give everything to that,” Kremer said.

Anderson, who helped start the group, specializes in the breaststroke. He recorded the fifth-fastest time at Minnesota in the 100-yard breaststroke in 2012.

He has already qualified for the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships, which will take place in Irvine, Calif., in August. While there, he’ll attempt to qualify for the U.S. national team.

In the meantime, Anderson must find a way to support training and traveling costs. One way he’s doing that is through Dreamfuel — a crowdsourced funding website similar to Kickstarter, but for athletes.

Half of the money he raises will go toward swim camps that Anderson and his brother, Trent, are hosting to help raise funds to build a freshwater well in El Salvador. Anderson has tentative plans with his brother to deliver the donations in person this December. But for now, he spends his time training for the important three months ahead.

The other half of his money raised will go toward his trips to the Santa Clara Grand Prix and the national championships this summer.

Josh Hall, another member of the training group, was a teammate of Anderson’s at Minnesota who’s also attempting to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

Hall said the group practices twice a day on average. In college, the swimmers had more downtime.

“[We’d] swim and then go take a nap,” Hall said.

But now, a normal day involves swimming, lifting weights and often a shift at work.

In addition to training, Anderson writes for, a swimming news publication. However, most of Anderson’s focus is reserved for the pool.

If Anderson doesn’t qualify for the national team this summer, he said he plans to forge ahead and work to make it until 2016.

Hall, who swam next to Anderson for the past four years, doesn’t believe Anderson has reached his peak.

“For Jared, the best years are ahead,” he said.

After his last meet in college, Anderson didn’t feel a sense of closure — he wanted to continue to reach the highest level of excellence in the sport he loved.

“I think I still have better swimming ahead of me,” Anderson said. “The thought was: ‘I’m still enjoying it, and I’m still getting better, so why stop at this point?’”