Dagny Knutson Returning to Train in North Dakota

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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10 years ago

Liquid – I think you & I had this right.

We need to let people walk away from swimming commitments. It has become people’s whole lives instead of a sport.

To Dagby’s Uncle – please send my best wishes to her parents & my hopes for their financial situation . lucky they live in a boom state .

Dagny's Uncle
10 years ago

Coach Troy, nor his coaching techniques had anything to do with Dagny’s issues. My niece is an amazing young lady who has the love and support of family, friends and fans. She has set goals that have her reaching for the stars, and if she does not reach them she will have accomplished steps to milestones that took dedication and effort that most people aren’t capable of putting forth. To date, her journey has been challenged with obstacles and adversity, but her character and work ethic will get her through it all.

Reply to  Dagny's Uncle
10 years ago

Dagny’s uncle if you’re still there, thanks for the nice testimonial to your niece. I read the NY Times article today. You are right that she has the love of her fans, and I’m glad she is happy with her decision. Please let her know that her fans congratulate her for a great career and send her best wishes for her future. Given her character, work ethic, and love from her friends and family, like you, I think she will have a great life. Good luck, Dagny!

10 years ago

1. 218 Americans died in 2010 from an eating disorder (majority were women of course)
2. 430,000 women alone died in 2010 from Heart Disease, over 800,000 deaths total
3. 1 in 200 women has anorexia
4. 36% of women are obese

Weight shouldn’t be a delicate issue, it should be THE issue, as it is the largest health criss our species has ever faced. It should be a non-gender issue, and we should be telling MORE Americans to lose weight. Obviously the way to go about it is key. No cowbells. No fat lanes. Not sure if I believe any of that garbage anyway…but our country is FAT, no doubt about it, and somehow we… Read more »

Reply to  DutchWomen
10 years ago

You know, I read this crap on the CS.com site too. You know where obesity isn’t much of an issue? With women swimmers who spend their lives with 4 ounces of fabric, and not much to hide. These are, after all, swimming websites – including the site that is publishing the articles. The first time you have to deal with a loved one or athlete with these issues, you’ll chance your heartless tune. Yeah – America is fat. It’s a problem. But in these forums it isn’t.

Joel Lin
10 years ago

First, best to Dagny. Some of us are chosen to weather in storms, and when we do we form a hardened and more beautiful shape. I hope for her every next day is a better day.

Second, I see some of the vitriol toward coaches being just sad. One of the things I believe makes US swimming great is the diversity of options elite swimmers have.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, frankly there were three approaches: high volume, high volume and also high volume. All coaches were cut from the Schubert Mission Viejo cloth…he was the most successful coach in the world and everyone was his imitator or enabler. What didn’t occur to anyone in the sport – maybe… Read more »

Reply to  Joel Lin
10 years ago

Wow! Amazingly well-said!
It’s interesting how society has gone from “different strokes for different folks” to “the way I think is the RIGHT way and the only way”.

There is such animosity (demonstrated perfectly by some of the comments here). Because some people don’t like Troy, he is to be villified. Why not just say “his type of training didn’t work for me (or my child, etc)”.

It reminds me of politics in a way. “If you’re a Democrat, you like terrorists!” Why does a difference of opinion make the other person wrong. Why can’t it just be ‘not for you’? There just seems to be so much of this now!!

I do not know Coach Troy,… Read more »

10 years ago

It has been confirmed on SwimmingWorld, by Dagny, that she is recovering from an eating disorder. I wish her the best of luck in whatever she does next!!!!! She has been one of my favorite swimmers in the past couple years and I hope we see her with gold around her neck in 2016!

Jackie (Brandenburg, Ky)
10 years ago

Sounds like to me, “LOTS” of these people making comments do NOT know what pressure a Professional athlete is under. Give this girl a break, give her confidence and support. She does not need all this BS. I do not know what the problem is, but come on people she needs SUPPORT not BS bashing…..which ever direction her life goes in I know she will have the best support possible from a loving family. Best of Luck with anything you choose to do Dagney…..YOU have been amazing……..(just a friend from your mom’s hometown) Jackie

Reply to  Jackie (Brandenburg, Ky)
10 years ago

thank you, I agree. I made the very first comment (see above) hoping that Dagny would see it and get encouragement. But I suspect you’re right that she doesn’t read this kind of blog, and after seeing all the negative comments, I hope she doesn’t!!

Just a Coach
Reply to  liquidassets
10 years ago

Liquidassets, I saw your comment, and there were some good comments up above. But one thing I dislike about comment boards is people lashing out there ideas and thoughts when they know nothing about what is going on. It was very hard for me to read all of these “opinions” on what she should do, when I knew exactly what was going on. She’s made such a huge step in her recovery of her ED. Home is where she needs, and wants, to be.

just a coach
10 years ago

First off…Dagny, if you are reading any of this, you are not allowed to take anyone’s opinions on what they think they know to heart. Others need to not speculate on what they think is going on and what you should do…you know what the right path is, and I wholly support your path. You are right where you need to be.

Everyone with your negative comments…why not wait for the articles to come out? Then you can make comments to support instead of negative comments on what you all know nothing about.

Reply to  just a coach
10 years ago


10 years ago

Some of these swimmers just need some stree kred.

Reply to  BigCarrotTop
10 years ago

True, street cred is bad for dignity, moral compass, spiritual growth, etc, but great for $$$

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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