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The Drill: Luke Gordon at home on the water, and also under it

Worthington Stingrays swimmer Luke Gordon is a regular competitor in state meet competition, and he's a big fan of scuba diving

Worthington Stingrays swimmer Luke Gordon makes a lap during practice for an upcoming State swim meet.
Worthington Stingrays swimmer Luke Gordon makes a lap during practice for an upcoming State swim meet. Tim Middagh / The Globe
Tim Middagh / The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- If you look at Luke Gordon standing on the edge of a pool, you see a strapping young man with thin hips and a well-defined chest. He looks built for swimming, and though the Worthington High School senior also competes in football, baseball and trapshooting, it’s in swimming that he has achieved his exceptional success in sports.

Gordon competed in his sixth state swim competition last weekend at the University of Minnesota, where he achieved his fastest performance of the season in the 100-meter breaststroke. He entered the big meet full of confidence -- confidence gained after participating in his fifth state competition last season where he earned first place in the 100-breast with a second place in the 50-free and 100-free. He competed on relay teams that have captured firsts at the state level over the previous four years.

He’s certainly come a long way with the Worthington Stingrays.

“I started swimming as an eighth-grader, and right away I didn’t know much about it,” he remembered recently. “All of my friends and family members said, ‘Yeah, you should go on the swim team.’ So at first I was kind of scared because Donna (Coach Donna Damm) said move up to the older group right away. And that was a big step after not knowing very many people. But eventually I made more friends. It was OK. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be.”

Funny about how quickly a young person can move from nervousness to confidence.

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Frankly speaking, it’s hard to imagine today’s Luke Gordon as an insecure eighth-grader. He’s quite confident now, of course, not only around the water but in other areas of his life, too. A dedicated contributor in FFA, he spends much of his time working on the family farm and in construction, and he testifies to having a passion about agriculture. He has a passion for the water, too, not just as a swimmer but also as a scuba diver where he intends to further his level of expertise.

The Globe chose Gordon as this week’s Drill subject. You can see the video online at www.dglobe.com . Here’s a sample of the interview:

QUESTION: Tell us about the events you cover with the swim team.

ANSWER: “I compete in the 50-free, the 100-free and the 100-breast, and more recently I’ve competed in the 100-IM. My favorite is probably the 100-breast. That’s one of my stronger events over the last few years that I’ve really worked on. To do the breaststroke you really need to have strength everywhere. You have your arms and you’re moving them up through your body and pushing. So you need to get arm strength for push, and the kick is a really major part of the breaststroke after pushing off the wall, and the glide.”

QUESTION: What can you tell us about yourself that most people might not know?

ANSWER: “One thing some people don’t know about me is that I like to scuba dive. I had my certification for five years. I enjoy being in the water. It takes a lot of confidence to go under water and hold your breath, and being able to explore. But I’ve learned to love it, and I want to keep advancing. After my advanced open waters -- what I have now -- maybe become a master diver someday.”

QUESTION: When you’re not competing in sports, what do you like to do in your free time?

ANSWER: “What I like to do in my spare time is be part of agriculture. I work on our family farm with my dad and grandparents and the rest of my family. And I also work construction. But agriculture is more my passion, and that’s kind of what I’ll go into in the future.”

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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