WILTON, Conn. -- Wilton High School senior Stephen Holmquist attracted interested from many college swim programs. His college destination, however, was determined long ago.
Holmquist, a distance freestyler, will attend the University of Michigan. His father, Peter, swam for the Wolverines in the 1980s and still competes in Masters events. From a very young age, Stephen considered Michigan as his future destination.
“I’m excited to follow my father’s footsteps and go to Michigan,’’ Holmquist said. “I loved it from the minute I got there.”
Other schools recruited Holmquist. He visited Duke, and he had visits lined up for Harvard and Princeton.
“After seeing Michigan, I knew that’s where I wanted to go,’’ Holmquist said. “After I visited Duke, I didn’t go on any other visits. I called up the coach at Michigan and said, 'I want to be a Wolverine.'”
Holmquist joins one of the top programs in the nation. Under coach Mike Bottom, Michigan has won four straight Big 10 titles and the 2013 national championship. Stamford’s Dan Madwed had a tremendous career with the Wolverines, winning 14 Big 10 titles and the conference’s Swimmer of the Year honors in 2012. Madwed also swam on many United States international teams.
Holmquist is a part of a six-man recruiting class for Michigan, but he is the only distance freestyler.He is ranked eighth in the nation for the 1,500-meter freestyle and qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials in the 400 individual medley and the 1,500 free.
While it was Holmquist’s goal to reach Michigan, an injury early on in his school career seemed to be a setback.
“In ninth grade I was injured and couldn’t compete,’’ he said. “In 10th grade, I started to improve, and that’s when I thought there was a chance I could make it on the team.”
He will join Westport’s Ian Rainey, a former teammate with the Wahoos, when he enrolls next year. He feels he’ll be ready to compete against the nation’s best collegiate swimmers.
“I’m looking forward to it,’’ Holmquist said. “It’s going to be a challenge. I’m excited to be a Wolverine.”
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