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Eric Peterson, Published April 01 2010

Shanley's Halberstadt excited to sign with Nebraska

Lexie Halberstadt will learn from a swimming legend next year.

The Fargo Shanley senior is set to sign a national letter of intent for Division I Nebraska today. Olympic gold medalist swimmer Pablo Morales is head coach for the Cornhuskers women’s swim team.

“That was really neat and especially knowing next year I will be swimming for someone who won a gold medal,” said Halberstadt, who also swims for the West Fargo Flyers club.

Morales is a former world-record holder in the 100-meter butterfly and won a gold medal for the United States in the event at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

“It’s really cool,” she added. “He won a gold medal in the butterfly and that’s one of my main strokes.”

Halberstadt earned seven state titles for the Deacons, including four in the 50-yard freestyle and three in the 100 butterfly. She said she also considered the University of Minnesota and South Dakota State before making her final decision.

“She’s just a face to my club,” said Flyers coach Jeff Steele, who first coached Halberstadt when she was 9 years old and with the F-M Gators swim club.

“She is so wonderful with the younger swimmers for a role model. She’s not the loud kind of leader. She does it by her actions. It’s kind of neat for all the younger kids to see.”

Halberstadt said her competitive swimming career started in Sioux Falls, S.D. Halberstadt was taking swimming lessons when a lifeguard asked if Halberstadt would like to try out for the swim club.

“So I did and I loved it,” said Halberstadt, who swam with the Sioux Falls club for a season before her family moved to Fargo.

“I just thought it was a lot of fun. I liked it better than the other things that I had tried.”

Halberstadt is the second Flyers swimmer in the last two years to go to a D-I school. Ashley Reiter, who was a standout for West Fargo High School, is also at Nebraska.

Minot High School senior Dagny Knutson is headed to D-I Auburn and holds several national high school records. Knutson has also competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in swimming.

“It’s kind of unfortunate (Halberstadt) had to come through right now the same time as Dagny Knutson,” Steele said. “Because, obviously, if it wasn’t for Dagny, Lexie would be the fastest swimmer to ever come out of North Dakota. She has to compete with the beast.”

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