Published February 09 2012
West Fargo swimmers' adaptability paying off
West Fargo High School senior Adam Smestad attempted to play basketball as a kid. He was taller than most kids, but it just didn’t work.
His next athletic endeavor has worked out much better.
Smestad, who now stands 6-foot, 3½-inches tall, has become a valuable part of the Packers boys swimming team due to the ability to excel in several events. His versatility has allowed West Fargo coach Marsha Dahl to more easily shake up her lineup during dual meets to get more favorable matchups in each event.
“He can really do everything well,” Dahl said. “He doesn’t have the top time in any event. But he understands he has a job to do. We all have a job to do.”
After his short brush with basketball, Smestad was recruited to the swimming team in seventh grade by a couple of friends. Although he had a build perfect for the sport, Smestad needed time to get acclimated to his new surroundings.
“I didn’t have a very good work ethic back then,” Smestad said.
He qualified for state for the first time during his freshman season. Smestad has earned first team all-state in each of the last three seasons.
He’s been in a utility role each year, fitting in where Dahl needs him so that the team can have greater success. Smestad has moved around so much each year that he’s never had a specific specialty. Although, he does admit he is least proficient in the breaststroke.
This year, Smestad has turned in the fourth-fastest time in the state in the 200-yard freestyle (1:48.52), the fifth-fastest time in the 100 freestyle (49.15) and the sixth-fastest time in the 500 freestyle (5:05.49).
His goal is to finally win an individual state championship.
“If it happens I will be happy,” he said. “If it doesn’t, I’m not going to be devastated.”
Dahl said Smestad, whose brother Alex is a sophomore on the swimming team, has come a long way since he started.
He’s blossomed into a quiet team leader and his work ethic has improved tremendously since those rough early days in the pool.
“It’s been a pleasure to coach him” Dahl said. “He’s a very talented person. Throughout the years, he’s really evolved into a darn good swimmer.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.
Hotzler’s blogs can be found