Holstad displays talent, confidence

Central freshman swimmer Grace Holstad hopes to make state in the butterfly.

Photo by Lukas Eggen
Central freshman swimmer Grace Holstad hopes to make state in the butterfly.

INDEPENDENCE — Central freshman swimmer Grace Holstad doesn’t like to lose.

Whether she’s swimming the butterfly during a meet or swimming against teammates during a practice, Holstad has a singular goal in mind: Finish before anyone else.

“I’m a super-competitive person,” Holstad said. “I always want to be first.”

Holstad has her sights set on making her presence felt in the world of swimming.

Swimming is in the DNA of the Holstad family.

Holstad’s mother swam the freestyle at the Junior Olympics, and there was little doubt that Grace would follow suit and grow to love the water.

Turns out Grace, who began swimming competitively at the age of 7, loved the thrill of victory.

“I’ve been swimming as long as I can remember,” she said. “I love it. I love the competitive feeling. I love when there’s someone neck-in-neck with me. There’s nothing else that compares to it.”

Grace quickly settled into a stroke that gives many swimmers great difficulty — the butterfly.

“I don’t remember if it was hard for me at the beginning, but I just knew I liked it and had fun working at it,” Holstad said. “It is a difficult stroke. I like how it challenges me. It’s just fun.”

Although only a freshman, Holstad enters the 2016-17 season with a wealth of competitive swimming experience and has become a key part to the team both during meets and practices.

“She has that skill base there,” coach Jennifer Tress said. “She has that competitive drive and is fun to be around in practice. She makes a lot of people laugh. She brings a lot to the team both in skill and atmosphere and attitude.”

Holstad isn’t shy about her goals, either. She knows she has to cut down on her time in the butterfly in order to be among the state’s best — but she believes she can, and make a run at qualifying for state.

“It would mean the world,” Grace said. “I’ve always wanted to go to state. It’s been my dream ever since I started swimming.”

To get there will take a lot of work, but Holstad is confident in her abilities.

She knows the swim season is a long one, but she is out to have fun — just be ready to get out of her way.

“They always say have fun, but it’s more fun for me if I win,” Holstad said. “It sounds kind of self-centered, but I love winning. It’s the best.”

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