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Eric Peterson, Published February 17 2010

Gusewelle's performance fit for the big stage

Ann Gusewelle is a film studies major with a love for making documentaries.

“I do like the challenge and I like being different,” said Gusewelle, who is a senior on the Minnesota State Moorhead women’s swimming team.

Gusewelle is also a unique talent in the pool, having already earned multiple NCAA Division II All-American honors.

She specializes in the breaststroke, which is considered one of the more difficult strokes to master.

“High talent and high motivation – it just doesn’t come around very often,” said Dragons swimming coach Todd Peters. “She just has this incredible flexibility that allows her to get her body into position to create speed that other people can’t do.”

Gusewelle is ranked No. 2 in Division II in the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 4.64 seconds) and was recently named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference swimmer of the year.

“You look at her and you’re like, ‘I want to be just like that.’ ” MSUM sophomore Jessica Doar said of Gusewelle. “Everyone wants to be as fast as her. When you look at her at practice you want to work hard with her at practice.”

The Dragons host their last chance meet Saturday. The Division II National Championships are set for March 10-13 in Canton, Ohio.

“We both say she has a legitimate shot to be a national champion,” Peters said.

Gusewelle’s affinity for film started around her freshman year in high school, roughly the same time she developed a strong passion for swimming.

Her dad, Kevin Gusewelle, had bought a new computer, which included video editing software. Gusewelle’s first films were created from family gatherings.

“I took the camera around and shooting stuff and just got into the habit and putting stuff together,” Gusewelle said.

One of the productions she is proudest of is a documentary she created about the Fargo Theatre, a short film she has posted on her Facebook page.

“I did the editing, which is what I want to specialize in,” she said.

Similar to good cinema, her swimming career needed time to build to a dramatic climax.

Gusewelle said she “absolutely hated it at first.” She got her competitive start on a club team when she was around 9 years old and lived in Wisconsin.

Her attitude toward the sport started to shift after her family moved to Osakis, Minn., and she started to swim for Sauk Centre High School.

When she was a freshman, she really started to get serious about the sport.

“I developed this passion where I want to be in the pool every day,” said Gusewelle. “I don’t want to rest.”

Her dedication to the sport is evident when she is in the pool. Peters gives her technique five stars.

“She has one of the best breaststroke techniques you’ve ever seen,” Peters said. “That’s why she is so fast. It’s the type of thing that you videotape and show other people and tell them ‘This is what it should look like.’ ”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.