Alumni Spotlight: Jared Anderson
June 9, 2014
Class of 2013
Hometown: Baxter, Minn.
Alumni Jared Anderson has continued to keep swimming centered in his life since his career as a Golden Gopher ended over a year ago. The 2012-13 co-captain is not only a professional swimmer, but this summer is leading a series of swim camps to raise money to provide clean water for Shutia, El Salvador.
What is your favorite race?
Probably the 100 breast, maybe even the 50 breast. I just like to go fast! The races where it's all about power and tempo are the ones I have the most fun with.
What were some of your favorite memories as a Golden Gopher swimmer?
The NCAA Championships my senior year was a blast. It was kind of one last "hurrah" with the group I'd spent the past four years training alongside, and the meet atmosphere was unreal. I love swimming in meets with a lot of intensity and pressure, and NCAAs definitely fit that bill. Being able to end my college career with all lifetime-bests and breaking the school record in my very last 100 breaststroke was a perfect way to cap off four years.
Definitely the most fun I've ever had at a swim meet was the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012. I've never swum in an atmosphere anything like that, and I've also never enjoyed a meet environment more thoroughly. I had a pair of lifetime-bests at that meet as well, and I remember watching the light show, the sellout crowd and the pyrotechnics shooting flames up along the sides of the pool and thinking that this was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. I think I knew right then that it would be worth it to me to train another four years if I could just get one chance to swim in that championship final and have a shot at an Olympic bid.
How has Minnesota assisted with your career after graduating?
Well, in terms of my writing career, having a journalism degree from a great J-School like the U of M has been a huge help. My senior project was a long-term investigative piece that was published on MinnPost.com, and between that and the writing I did with Gopher Sports, I had a solid set of clips to send in with job applications. It wound up paying off when I got a job writing for SwimSwam.com - I get to cover competitive swimming, which I know and love, and that's been a real blessing.
I'm also trying to carve out a professional swimming career at the same time, and MN Aquatics club team has been so supportive of that. Not having to uproot myself and get used to a whole new training environment was huge - I'm really appreciative of the coaching and training the Minnesota coaching staff is putting in for our professional group. It's a very well-thought-out process. The coaches have been great at tweaking my training as I enter my mid-twenties and start focusing more on sprint races. On top of that, getting to train daily with our amazing alumni like David Plummer, Derek Toomey, Haley Spencer, Ashley Steenvoorden and (international superstar) Josh Hall is a perfect situation for me.
What are you currently training for? What do you have upcoming?
My major taper meet of the summer will be U.S. Nationals this August in Irvine, California. I still feel like I'm growing into the long course format, and I'm hoping this summer will have some breakout swims in store for me.
I'm also working on a series of swim camps in my hometown to raise money for a village in El Salvador. My brother, who is a business major at Bethel University just up the road, is helping me set them up and also helping me coach them. Our goal is to give back to the Brainerd swimming community, but also to use the camps as a way to raise money to build a well in Shutia, a village in El Salvador that my brother visited on a missions trip this spring. I wanted to go along, but couldn't get away from training for that length of time, so my brother and I came up with a plan for how I could help in my own way. There's a real shortage of fresh water in Shutia, and that really hits home for me, as an athlete who spends several hours a day immersed in water, and who hydrates almost obsessively during practices and meets.
The camps could raise up to about half the cost of building a well in Shutia, and we're hoping to put enough of a dent in the fundraising that we can complete the well through private donations and money raised by our church.
We also launched a Dreamfuel account - it's a website where athletes can "crowd-fund" their professional careers, kind of like a KickStarter campaign for athletes instead of artists. My campaign both raises money to help me get to Nationals this summer, and helps the kids of Shutia with clothes and school supplies. Roughly half of every donation goes towards a clothing or school supply item for Shutia. It'll be a big boost to me in paying for flights, food and lodging at Nationals, and we hope we'll be able to help provide some important items for the kids in El Salvador as well!
What advice do you have for current Minnesota swimmers?
First, I'd tell them to enjoy every minute. Being a Division I athlete and swimming for the University of Minnesota is an experience not many people get to have. Be grateful for the opportunity, and enjoy the heck out of it! Second, I'd tell them that 4 years goes by way faster than you can imagine. Don't waste time with a half-hearted commitment, and never leave anything for "next year." Leave everything in the pool on every swim, because you never know exactly how many swims you have left!