WEST FARGO — Logan Engelstad started swimming competitively for the first time just three years ago. This West Fargo native is a natural in the water. At only 11 years old, he is already making a big splash.
“I thought I was just going to be like a regular swimmer,” said Logan.
Logan is anything but a typical swimmer, though.
“I signed his older brother up for the swim team, and Logan was just going to sit by me and watch practice but I thought, 'Why not throw him in the water, too?'” said Logan’s mother, Kristi Engelstad.
That first time jumping in the pool was only three years ago. Now, Logan is climbing up the ranks as one of the top swimmers in North Dakota.
“I just thought he was a goofball, hard working, fun kid. Then I got to see him at our first meet and I was like, 'Well, this kid is kind of the real deal.' That’s also why he’s so fast, because he’s not just here to swim fast, he’s here because of the whole package swimming has to offer him,” said West Fargo Flyers Head Coach Talia Butery.
Logan proved he wasn’t an ordinary swimmer at the state meet in Bismarck last March, setting not just a record or two, but 18.
“I was just doing the best that I could going as hard as I could because I knew it was the last meet that I was going to be 10 years old for, and I could be as fast as I could the whole year,” Logan said.
“I thought, 'Oh, that’s pretty awesome to win one at the state meet.' Then he kept winning, winning and winning, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, where is this coming from?'” Kristi said.
“He hasn’t even been in the mix for that long, so it’s kind of cool to watch his career kind of accelerate pretty quickly," Butery said. "It was really cool at the state meet that he was breaking all of those records. It wasn’t just us that was proud of him, it was every parent in the stands. The officials were congratulating him, other coaches from other teams knew they were seeing something special happen."
“We just kept thinking, 'Oh, this one (record) is 20 years old, this one is so old, this one is so fast.' We know Logan is great, but he’s 10, it’s the second day of the meet, it’s his last event, he’s tired and he just kept doing it and it was awesome,” Butery added.
Like any 11-year-old, his goal wasn’t about the medal count. What was on the line for Logan was a lot sweeter than any trophy or prize.
“Every single state record I set, I was going to get a blizzard. Then my coach told me if I broke six state records that I could get an ice cream cake, and I did it. So I got an ice cream cake, and I shared it with my friends at my house,” said Logan.
“I was like going broke on blizzards. Not that I didn't believe in him, but I'm like, 'He's going to be tired. I don’t know if he’s going to be able to pull this off.' And sure enough, he did,” Butery said.
He might not be old enough to have a driver’s license, but Logan has big dreams, including one day qualifying for the Olympics.
“I just hope I can get there someday; I think it would be really cool. I compare my times to theirs and kind of hope I progress faster to get there,” Logan said.
“He would absolutely love it if that could be him someday," Kristi said.
“I do get nervous a little bit, but I just want him to have fun. I don’t care if he’s successful or not, I just want him to have fun and his friends to have fun. I think I was more nervous when he was younger. I was so nervous that he would miss a race or be talking to his friends and just forget to go swim,” she added.
Before rising to the top of his sport, Logan is enjoying being a fun and determined 11-year-old, who is proving to be a natural in the water.
“He’s about swimming fast and competing, but he’s so much about his team and his relationships with his teammates," Butery said. "Logan has so much potential, and part of it is because he doesn’t just focus on his times. He really does come into practice and work hard."
It’s not only in the pool where Logan succeeds, he also plays baseball, football, and basketball.
“He likes every sport, but for some reason he really enjoyed swimming, probably the most. It’s been fun to watch his success, and it’s actually been even more fun to see how he has improved," Kristi said. "It’s tough because we have to have a balance so he doesn't get burned out at age 11. So we practice, but we don't want to do too much."
As Logan embraces the here and now, his mantra remains pretty simple.
“Well, I just really like the water,” he said.
Since Logan recently turned 11, bumping him up to the 11- and 12-year-old swim group. He has hopes to be back on top of the leader board soon.