MINNEAPOLIS - The Gopher men’s swimming and diving team welcomes 13 new student-athletes to the 2016-17 squad. This week, GopherSports.com gets to know Parker Lemke, a native of Eagan, Minn.
During his high school career with the Eagan Wildcats, Lemke reached many accolades, including being named an All-State honoree and All-American honoree multiple times. He set ten Eagan High School records, and was named the school MVP three times. Aside from individual awards, Lemke assisted his team in winning the 2015 Minnesota State high school championship.
Outside of Eagan High School, Lemke competed under coaches John Barnes and Eva Kremer for Blackline Aquatics. This season, he will compete in the backstroke and individual medley for the Gophers.
Gopher Sports: What are you most looking forward to about being a Gopher?
Parker Lemke: Being able to compete with high-level athletes. Training back home was good, but it wasn’t the level I wanted to be at. It’s nice to get to the next level, as well as the next level of academics.
GS: What do you hope to accomplish this season?
PL: Personally, I would like to make it to Big Tens and get top-16 in my events. As a team, I would love to get top-three at Big Tens.
GS: What are you most looking forward to this season?
PL: The new competition. For the past five years, I was in high school swimming, and it’s just the same competition. It’s nice to get new competition. It’s another level up, but it forces me to get better.
GS: How did it feel for your team to win the 2015 Minnesota High School state championship?
PL: It was great. That was the goal we had created the year before that. We’d seen what we could do and we all worked really hard for a long time. It really helped us come together, and it felt good to do it, especially as a team. It felt like we had won and all of our hard work had paid off.
GS: What was it like breaking multiple records at Eagan High School?
PL: It was really good to get those. Especially my senior year, I wanted to leave my legacy. I would train everyday thinking about those records. I had the record board right where I trained, so I was able to see it everyday. I wanted to win my events and stuff like that, but I also wanted to have the record so my name would stay there.
GS: What was it like to win multiple All-State and All-America honors?
PL: That was really good, especially the All-American. I remember as a freshman seeing people get All-American, and thinking that is the highest thing you can get there. All-State was also a very good honor, to be a part of the best athletes in the state. All-American just felt great because you felt you had a new level of prestige.
GS: Do you have any closing comments about your freshman season?
PL: I can’t wait to compete as a Gopher.
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