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Alexandria's Chromey ready to swim for the Gophers

Alexandria's Nic Chromey stands near the pool at the Junior National Championship swim meet in Irvine, Cal., that he qualified for this summer. Chromey, a two-time state champion in the breaststroke for the Cardinals, will swim for the University of Minnesota in the Big Ten starting this fall. (Submitted photo)

Alexandria's Nic Chromey made four state swim meets at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center during his high school career, and every time he stepped onto the pool deck there, he thought about his future.

"It was always a goal of mine to swim in that pool," Chromey said. "Sometimes when I was there, I'd see the (U of M) team and think, 'This is awesome. They get to practice every day in this pool, train hard and race in this pool.'"

The Gophers were always the team Chromey wanted to swim for some day. Now on Aug. 28, he'll move into the University of Minnesota and realize that dream of swimming with the Gophers.

"It's crazy," he said. "Every day I wake up and I have a pile of stuff I need to bring to my dorm sitting by my bed, and I'm like, 'I'm already here.' I can't believe it. It went by so fast."

The summer of 2017 was the beginning of the recruiting process for Chromey, as he was coming off a state championship in the 100-yard breaststroke during his junior season. Chromey met with Gopher coaches in August of that year and was offered a spot on the team. He verbally committed. Then in October, he took his official visit and just solidified the comfort level he already had in his decision to swim for the Gophers.

"I like that it's close enough that I can still visit home, but yet it's in the Twin Cities and there's a lot to offer there at such a big university," he said.

Chromey's high school career is a decorated one that ended with back-to-back state titles in the 100 breaststroke. He helped a talented Cardinals team to a fourth-place finish in the standings at this past year's Class A state meet by also swimming in the 200 IM and the 200-medley and 200-freestyle relays.

Chromey has had an active summer in the pool, swimming with the Alexandria Swim Club. He recently got back from the Junior National Championship swim meet in Irvine, Cal., where he faced some of the top competition in the country at his age level. He took 37th in the 100 breastroke and 100th in the 200 breaststroke.

The breaststroke is where Chromey made his mark in high school and where he figures the Gophers will start him out in at the college level. He also hopes to show them he can be competitive in the IM and the butterfly.

"Right now, I'm probably only competitive where I could score decent in the breaststroke because there's just such a skill jump between high school-level swimming and college-level swimming," Chromey said.

Chromey knows how important it is that he continues to improve. He's confident he'll do that as he continues to train with the Gophers.

"We do a lot more stroke-specific work," Chromey said. "I'm excited to use such a great facility and all the equipment they have. When I was there, they showed me some of the recovery techniques they were using. It gets me really excited to know that there's so much more that I haven't been doing, and that means there's so much more time that I can still drop."

Chromey will naturally get stronger as he grows older and works in a college program. He's confident his technique will improve, too, as he continues to focus on the tiniest details of his stroke.

He'll have four years to make his mark in the Big Ten and wants to do everything he can to be ready from the get-go.

"I think the four-year plan is always in the back of my head, but I do want to make as big an impact as I can," he said. "Don't want to waste a year. I want to try to make an impact every year."

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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