July 25, 2012

HU Hall of Famer Kate Lundsten Coaching Olympic Hopeful Rachel Bootsma

Kate Lundsten

Three decades ago, Kate Lundsten made quite an imprint on the swimming community. The Minnetonka grad was a key member of the Piper swim team that won three consecutive AIAW national titles (the predecessor to NCAA Division III). She led by example, earning 24 All-American notations. By the time she was done in 1982, she had won national titles in the 100 and 200 yard backstroke, setting a national record in the latter event. Her times in those events (as well as being a member of the 200 Free Relay) have stood the test of time and are still school standards today.

In 1996, HU inducted her into its Athletic Hall Of Fame. (That's her plaque pictured at the right.)

After her competitive days ended, Lundsten turned to coaching with great success at Eden Prairie High School and with the Aquajets Swim Team. One of her top current proteges is Rachel Bootsma, the Eden Prairie, Minn. teenager who will be one of the top American prospects when as the Summer Olympics get under way this week in London. Like her teacher/coach did, Bootsma competes in the 100 Backstroke. She was second at the U.S. trials, duplicating her 2011 finish. She will also a member of the 4 x 100 Medley Relay team.

Bootsma's time of 59.49 in the 100 Backstroke was less than a second behind Missy Franklin's winning time.  Bootsma has no problem giving credit to her mentor. On her USA SWIMMING bio, she says this about Lundsten: "Without her coaching me, I certainly wouldn’t be swimming. She keeps practices fun and enjoyable. She knows me so well. She helped me set my goal to make the Olympic team and she was the one who helped me make that goal a reality. I owe all of my swimming successes to her.” 

Bootsma hits the water at the Aquatic Centre Sunday, July 29 for the first round. If all goes well, she will be back for a semifinal bid later that day. The finals are scheduled for Monday, July 30.