Dagny Knutson Returning to Train in North Dakota

  69 Braden Keith | August 16th, 2012 | Featured, National, News

Dagny Knutson, one of the greatest female high school swimmers in history, has had a roller-coaster few years since leaving North Dakota. First, she signed to swim for Auburn, but after coach Paul Yetter left that program, she decided to turn pro and train with FAST when it was still a professional Center of Excellence.

She missed the 2010 Pan Pacs team, a meet that many expected to be her big breakout. Then she went to train with Olympic coach Gregg Troy in Gainesville, Florida while taking classes (though by that point she was ineligible for NCAA competition).

After making the 2011 World Championship team and winning gold as a finals swimmer in the 800 free relay, it seemed as though things were looking up. But after devastating floods nearly destroyed her home town of Minot, and some out-of-the-pool issues, she fell off of the map. She didn’t compete in 2012, and missed the Olympic Trials. It’s not clear exactly what those issues were, but she has made several references lately to recovery at Shands Hospital, and has said that a 5-part story of her journey will be coming soon.

Now, she has announced that she will be returning home to where it all started in North Dakota. She will begin training again with the ASK program that took her to so many early successes and coach Kathy Aspaas in Minot.

Knutson is a very popular swimmer, and there are a lot of people in this country who are rooting for her to succeed. She’s been through a lot for someone only 20 years old, but is still easily young enough to recover and have a successful career.

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69 Comments on "Dagny Knutson Returning to Train in North Dakota"


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liquidassets
4 years 12 days ago

Yes, 20 is so young, she’s got plenty of time left! Sounds like a good plan for her to touch base with the home team, best of luck Dagny!!

Colin
4 years 12 days ago

I’m glad to hear she is returning to Minot. I was really rooting for her the last few years, and disappointed to not see her compete in Omaha this year. Kathy is a great coach and Dagny was outstanding under her guidance.

4 years 12 days ago

Glad to hear that she is returning to N Dakota. I sure am rooting for her!! I agree that she is stikl young enough to have a great career.

WHOKNOWS
4 years 12 days ago

Dagny had a great relationship with her coach (I would assume). It’s not the same when that partnership between the swimmer and the coach that developed has developed that swimmer is curtailed. I am glad to see Dagny get back to her roots where she feels comfortable and has had the most success. Coach-swimmer relationships are extremely critical to success!

Swimmer24
4 years 12 days ago

I was extremely sad not to see her swim at trials. This was especially after seeing her start to do well again with the help of Coach Troy. I’m a little confused on why she would leave Florida because things went well in 2011, she seems to have had a lot of fun, and there are lots of people for he to train with. However I have faith that she is making the best decision for herself to be successful. I wish her the best of luck and hope to see her in Barcelona!

duckduckgoose
4 years 11 days ago

Rooting big time for Dagny. Kinda surprised she hasn’t hooked up with Teri McKeever yet-they seem tailor made for each other. Teri’s the best ever at restoring struggling talent to greatness.

joeb
4 years 11 days ago

what do you mean about Teri? who for example?

duckduckgoose
4 years 11 days ago

Natalie was burned out by her club coach, injured, and depressed about bombing out at the 2000 trials when she arrived at Cal. In her bio, “Golden Girl”, she claims she wouldn’t have made it through her freshman year if she swam for anyone other than Teri. She also credits Teri for keeping her interested enough in swimming to get through 3 olympics.

Vollmer was damaged goods when she transferred to Cal from Florida, Too much training yardage took its toll and she was injured. Teri also rebuilt Vollmer’s psyche after she didn’t make the US team in 2008.

McKeever, not Durden, convinced Ervin to get back in the pool when he returned to Berkeley a few years ago. He initially trained with Teri’s team, not the men,

Don’t know what Dagny’s issues are, but Teri has a track record of resetting careers that have gotten off track.

John Sampson
4 years 11 days ago

Wow great argument! You’ve convinced me!

Jg
4 years 11 days ago

Seems to me Ms Knutsen has not taken your advice.

Josh
4 years 11 days ago

Dana Vollmer was already injured when she got to Florida. She herniated a disk in her lower back on a flip turn at her club team in Texas after coming back from Athens causing all kinds of leg pain which made her overcompensate with her arms. With the yardage at Florida, it was a recipe for shoulder tendinitis, so now she couldn’t kick or pull. If she’d have been healthy when she got there, it may have all turned out differently, but she ended up where was best off ultimately.

Waterboarding
4 years 11 days ago

Excellent point about Teri. She is truly outstanding and I think is in a class by herself. One other thing that people forget about is that Cal was a graveyard when she took it over. I remember Teri getting excited about getting a 104.8 100 Breaststroker (yards) early in her tenure there.

Even though she didn’t coach most of the Olympic Team personally for the past four years, Terri deserves a lot of credit for how well the women’s team performed by creating a great atmosphere. Everything she touches turns to gold!

DanJohnRob
4 years 10 days ago

I was also very sad not to see her at trials! I was rooting for her to make the 800 FR and I hoped that after working with Troy she would be a contender for the 400 IM. I’m rooting for her to get things back on track!

bobo gigi
4 years 11 days ago

She’s a big talent and I wish her the best for the future.

Waterboarding
4 years 11 days ago

Just saying…How bout telling the real story. The prime of Dagny’s career, and her personal health, was destroyed by the turmoil at USA Swimming, bad advice and none other than our Olympic coach, Gregg Troy. Maybe instead of bowing down and praising college coaches for the one or two talented swimmers that they get to produce once in a while, we should take a closer look at the many talented and accomplished swimmers that they destroy or run out of the sport. Florida’s record with Gregg Troy would be scary bad in this regard.

ZYNG43
4 years 11 days ago

Dagny didn’t even start out her post high school career with coach troy. She had just started doing better with him. Also from what I’ve heard there were some very personal factors in this decision that had nothing to do with swimming. Seems like she’s been having a tough time out of the pool and needs to be with family

gosharks
4 years 11 days ago

I thought it was Mark Schubert who encouraged her to go pro and go to FAST. Maybe I pulled that out of nowhere?

Also, I read that Schubert was upset when Missy Franklin swam at Junior Nationals in 2009 rather than at Senior.
Source: http://www.5280.com/magazine/2012/06/golden-girl?page=0,3

Sans Pallegrini
4 years 11 days ago

Thanks for the link to the 5280 article on Missy.

WHOKNOWS
4 years 11 days ago

Great article… thanks!

4 years 10 days ago

That’s what I have heard, that it was Schubert who advised her. Hoping she can get it figured out and back on track. Good Luck Dagny!

beachmouse
4 years 11 days ago

You know exactly what you’re getting into with Greg Troy, at least in theory. Then it seems like a good number of swimmers discover that his program is even harder than the theory.

It’s a program that either works wonderfully (see also Gemma Spofforth) or fails horribly, and the times it doesn’t work out, it should be presented as a bad fit and not a failure on either side’s part. I just wish that there was a little bit better structure in place for those who turn out to be a bad fit with Florida. I would have hated to lose Dana Vollmer from the sport when Gainesville didn’t work for her.

Keith
4 years 11 days ago

I believe she quit swimming for awhile and had the health issue BEFORE she went to Gainesville, which was only a very recent move to get back into the swing. At any rate there’s lots of speculation flying around, so glad that we’ll eventually be able to put it to rest.

John Sampson
4 years 11 days ago

She has had some depression issues correct? Or did I miss inturpret some of her tweets awhile back?

Bossanova
4 years 11 days ago

How many swimmers started doing a lot better once they left Florida and Troy? Vollmer and Burckle are two.

Randall Stevens
4 years 11 days ago

Starts with “D”, ends with “arian Townsend”

Bobby
4 years 11 days ago

Dagny actually started to do better with Troy. It was when she went to FAST, where she did not do well. I’m pretty sure she started to beat her suited times in the 200 free and 400 free with Troy. We don’t know if she is leaving because of coaching or if she wants to be closer to home. It is very likely that she wants to go back home where she’ll have her family right there for support. I think the bashing of Gregg Troy is uncalled for and should stop, and some people just don’t fit the mold for the Gator program. However if they do fit in for the program it does wonders (Beisel, Lochte, Dwyer, Spofforth, PVK, and many more).

don
4 years 10 days ago

I’m not bashing Troy but I think it would be a stretch to say ” he did wonders” for PVK.

liquidassets
4 years 10 days ago

Olympic bronze close to textile best in a middle distance event at his age when most thought he’d never go that fast again? I’m in awe myself…..

don
4 years 8 days ago

Vanderkaay

400 free- 2011- 3.48:83
2012 – 3.43:69

200 free 2011- 1.46:46
2012-1.48:12

100free 2011- 51:40
2012;50.17

Not being critical, I am just not ready to give Troy credit for PVK

swimfan
4 years 11 days ago

Wow! I thought this was an article about the future plans for Dagney. It seems I clicked on the bash Troy and Florida link!

Waterboarding
4 years 11 days ago

Nothing against Florida and the alumni there, but the fact is that Troy does a great job of wooing people with his personality and promises on international trips and college visits, but once you sign on the dotted line all bets are off and you’re treated like a piece of meat
(or the first word of the bumper sticker that says “..it” happens).

The Schubert/Wielgus/Hutchison debacle put Dagny’s promise in the coffin and Troy nailed it shut. Is it any wonder Dagny had problems when Troy calls his swimmers fat, has a “fat lane” and even threatens to make the girls run the bleachers with cowbells around their necks. Then, the promises of “we’ll train you for the 100/200” only to find out that you’ll be training for the mile like everyone else.

As a father of a famous swimmer, who also happens to be a very good coach, said “that University of Florida wastes more talent and drives more great swimmers out of a sport than 100 of our best club coaches in this country get in a lifetime.”

Coaches and parents, need to look hard at this before ever sending their swimmer there.

Randall Stevens
4 years 11 days ago

It’s a great place for a few, a solid program for some, but a BAD program for the greater majority.

Swimmer24
4 years 11 days ago

I would just like to know where and how you received your information. This is because if you or whomever told you were not present when these things were said it is hard to believe. Many times things can be taken out of context when heard second, third, or fourth hand. This has happen to my own coach in the past where rumors gave them a bad rep. But a majority of what people thought was completely false and was from situation that people took out of context. You should be very careful when saying things like you have especially if they were not experienced first hand.

liquidassets
4 years 11 days ago

What is this Schubert/Wielgus/Hutchinson debacle you’re referring to, “Waterboarding”?

waterboarding
4 years 11 days ago

If I’m trying to build a college team, the best place to recruit is not at some National or Junior National meet. Just hang out at the Gainesville airport for a couple days in late-March/early-April and there will be an abundance of talent with a one-way ticket out of town!

Hopefully they won’t be injured or mentally fried.

kingfish
4 years 8 days ago

Who are you to bash Gregg Troy. His swimmers won 9 medals in London only Bob Bowman swimmers won more medals and Bob also like to work is swimmer very hard. Most coach wishes to be as successful as Gregg Troy.

Jg
4 years 10 days ago

The money must be getting tight with no scholarship & no results as a professional. Hospital stays in Florida would break mum & dad’s insurance limits especially if it is psychiatric related.

The tweets I have seen at swimmersdaily – I am not following or anything – are inane even for a 20 year old.

Maybe time to call it a day & concentrate on getting a career. After all there is a big wave of Ledeckies & Ryans closing in on & passing her times.

The good news is that North dakota is booming.

SUPERFAN
4 years 10 days ago

I wrote at this site right before Olympics. The Gators crew failed as expected in London. This program is big time FAIL!
Spofforth, Frasers, Vyatchnin, Gomez, …. who improved this Games?
Lochte already sold his house in Gainesville, bought an apartment in LA ready to leave. Few others already decided to leave too.

Josh
4 years 10 days ago

Lochte did not sell his house. His intention was always to move to LA after the Games and come back to Gainesville periodically for training. Do you think he was going to jet back and forth if he got on Dancing with the Stars? Spofforth was a 1:00.1 at British Olympic Trials and swam a 59.2 at the Olympics. Did she improve her best time? No, but she swam faster than she has since 2009, and her journey is well-documented. Stephanie Proud improved by nearly a second in the 200 back. Beisel improved. Dwyer improved. Lochte improved his 400 IM. Vanderkaay was as good as he’s ever been in textile. Brett Fraser swam PBs in both the 100 and 200. Andreina Pinto had never broken 8:30 in the 800 and went an 8:26. She was the only South American female to final at the Olympics, and the only South American not from Brazil to do so. If the Olympics were scored collegiately, Florida won on both the men’s and women’s side decisively. Also, the two guys that left, one had ties to South Florida and the other is a Venezuelan. Davie Nadadores is a huge post-grad hub for South American swimmers just as Arizona is for South Africans. I’m not sure why the program at UF inspires this level of vitriol, but much of it is unfounded.

Nadador
4 years 7 days ago

I agree: I wouldn’t think to count Vyatchanin as pleased with his performances. Regardless, it seems that he is going back to Florida..go figure!

idk
4 years 10 days ago

I have no knowledge of this situation, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to add up what was going on.

Based on her tweets, I’d guess that she’s struggled with some sort of eating disorder and possibly depression. She has referenced a few organizations that would point to this, including: To Write Love on Her Arms and http://theloveyourselfchallenge.tumblr.com/. She’s also tweeted a photo of a peacock tattoo on her back and she looked ridiculously thin in the photo. Not to mention the photo of two bananas with a note that read “Eat me” from her roommate.

Soon the speculation will all end. She’s working with someone on writing an article on her journey so far. She said she’s “Currently working on an outline for an article coming out soon about my hold on the Olympic Dream ’til 2016. I’m #savinglives w/ this one!”

While her journey probably hasn’t gone has she has planned or in the same path as others have expected, she seems in a good place and moving back home may make all of the difference. If not, there is and always will be life beyond a pool.

WHOKNOWS
4 years 10 days ago

Has this web site become an off shoot of “Angie’s List”?

Swammer/Coach
4 years 10 days ago

It seems that most really great coaches/leaders are very polarizing figures, you either love em or hate em

Randall Stevens
4 years 10 days ago

… except for Eddie Reese, Jack Bauerle, Dave Durden…

MarkB
4 years 10 days ago

Jack Bauerle also makes inappropriate comments about female swimmers body types – in public (ASCA Convention).

don
4 years 10 days ago

And a certain ACC coach that that makes a habit of calling out swimmers on weight (both male and female) publicly ,at meets.

Jg
4 years 10 days ago

Spoken like a man.

Jg
4 years 10 days ago

Really guys this post should not have been about squad wars. It is about a young lady who hit some not unknown troubles from her teenage swim years onwards.

The sort of person who can drive herself to 80ks a week by herself -the sort of focused personality swim fans love – is not always a good thing. Very often it ends in eating disorders which can be a polite mask for extreme non coping skills.

In the meantime officials , coaches & fans ought get off girls’ backs about weight. A few kilos does not hurt . Better a’ lazy ‘ non bodyfat perfect swimmer who does not reach her possible heights than a life long head case.

liquidassets
4 years 10 days ago

I agree with all this except for the “lifelong head case” part. Eating disorders and other psychiatric/addiction disorders, if that’s what she actually has, are treatable and many Olympic level athletes have beaten them and gone on to do great things both in and out of the water. (Torres, Beard, Ervin, Carvin just to name a few).That said, I agree completely that coaches and fans should back off on the weight issue, and get their own houses in order, instead .

Jim Johnson
4 years 10 days ago

Wow… Its amazing the leaps people take on here with little info. Gregg Troy never lies to anyone about his program.. It is hard and probably the hardest in the country. When you swim for him, you know noone has trained harder. The only problem is the training is “high risk, High reward.” Our tapers were really long and were great for multiple peaks at the end of a hard training period. And when you moved on to another program literally the training helped you for at least two years. Not everyone can handle it, but every one who swims for Coach Troy always is supported by him in the future in swimming and in life. He has 3 unbelievable sons and he has assistant coaches that stay with him for life. He will be the first to tell you that his Bolles /Florida program is not for everyone but if you do it for even one season you will benefit.

swimdad
4 years 10 days ago

I’m going to fall on the side that Coach Troy is a great coach. And he seemed deserving of the head Olympic Men’s job this time — however, I am indeed surprised he did not get more heat for his decision to put Lochte on anchor for the 4×100 Free Relay. That decision seemed to be sheer hubris on the part of Lochte and Troy and it backfired for the relay and likely Lochte for his other races. I understand letting him do prelims because he’s pretty good at the 100 and getting him anothe medal — but Grevers should have been in finals, and Adrian anchoring.

Korn
4 years 9 days ago

Weight is no more an issue for the lay teen/20 something in a normal hs or college setting than it is for an athlete! It is on every magazine and it is something that the athlete has to deal with as lifetime choices. Best to Dagny!

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The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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