Hoop dreams can’t keep

David La

In the movie “Happy Gilmore,” Adam Sandler portrayed a wannabe hockey player who finds himself more suited for the game of golf. Eventually he made peace with his reality.
In real life, Gophers swimmer Brandon Schindler appears to have finally made his peace with swimming by rejoining the swim team for the upcoming season. However, he can’t help but flirt with his first love, basketball.
“I’m a swimmer here but when I go home I play basketball with all my friends,” Schindler said. “They play in colleges in California, so it provides some pretty good games. So if (Gophers men’s basketball coach Dan) Monson needs a practice player. …”
Schindler joked about the possibilities of having a role in the University’s basketball program, but his mood turns serious when discussing his role on the swimming team. A role he relinquished after last season.
Schindler suffered from a shoulder injury and was unable to build on the expectations set by his solid sophomore season. But even with a bad shoulder, Schindler admits that he had become complacent, and figured it was now time for a change. He gave up his last year of eligibility, and prepared to graduate early.
“I think in a way I became content with myself and my performance,” Schindler said. “I was still determined, but there wasn’t that desire that had always been there before.”
After unsuccessfully making arrangements for an early graduation, and a re-examination of himself, Schindler approached coach Dennis Dale to ask for a chance at coming back to the team.
“I think one of the reasons he decided to return is he wants to go out feeling good about what he’s accomplished,” Dale said, “as opposed to feeling like he’s left a lot of gas in the tank.”
While Schindler, a two-time honorable mention All-America freestyler, says he again has the requisite fuel for the journey, he also admits to occasionally falling asleep at the wheel.
“You have practice two hours a day and you look at a black line the whole time,” Schindler said, referring to the bottom of the pool. “I’ve played a bunch of sports, and swimming practice by far is the most boring. Routine and structure are the first signs of insanity.”
While practice may test Schindler’s sanity, the lure of the big meet helps him keep his marbles.
“Swimming (practice) may be boring but it’s an extremely pressure-filled sport,” Schindler said. “You can’t blame anyone else except for yourself if something goes wrong.”
Now back on the Gophers team with a renewed interest in swimming, the goals on Schindler’s list are to excel at the big meets, specifically the NCAA championships.
“I’ve set a lot of new goals in my mind, one of them is improving upon my NCAA performance,” Schindler said. “There’s a lot of work that can be done there.