A maroon and gold setting was always expected to serve as the conclusion for Armstrong senior Brooke Evensen.
That is to say, there was never any doubt she would end her decorated prep swimming career on the University of Minnesota campus, competing in one last Class AA girls swimming and diving state meet.
But a well-earned offer became official Nov. 15, meaning a similar color pattern will also serve as a new beginning for Evensen when she begins her college swimming career.
Surrounded by family and friends all decked out in the cardinal and gold colors of Iowa State University, Evensen signed a National Letter of Intent last week to swim for the Division I Cyclones next year.
A four-year Class AA state meet entrant, Evensen went out and accomplished her lifetime goal the old fashioned way – she worked for it.
“I’ve worked so hard for this, and as long as I can remember, I wanted to swim Division I in college,” Evensen said. “But I wanted to make sure I made the right decision for myself. I wanted to see the campus, and see how I felt with the girls on the team. Everything there just felt right.”
The level of competition awaiting Evensen in the Big 12 Conference will be unlike anything she’s seen while at Armstrong, but despite the soft-spoken way she often displays herself on the outside, her desire to compete is loud and clear.
That much is evident in this decision alone, which will have her racing alongside not only the NCAA’s best, but Olympic hopefuls as well.
“There is always going to be great competition, but that is something I want.” Evensen said. “I want that person swimming next to me to be that good.”
It is safe to assume Evensen’s college choices were plentiful, mostly because of her ability to combine her swimming abilities with everything else she does.
Evensen is currently carrying a perfect 4.0 GPA, and is on pace to graduate in the spring as No. 1 in her class academically.
She also plays the baritone saxophone in Armstrong’s concert band, all while swimming competitively year round either at the high school level or as a member of the Aqua Jets club team.
“She is such a well-rounded, down-to-earth, genuine person,” said Armstrong head swimming and diving coach Julie Kent. “The one thing I really love about Brooke is that she is very much about the team. She is not there to show off. She is there to put in her work and help out the team in any way she can.”
For the past four years, that’s been maintaining Armstrong’s presence in the state meet.
She swam in three state meet events as a ninth-grader, then qualified in three more her sophomore year. A year ago, Evensen competed in four different events, and she did the same last weekend in her final state meet appearance, which was held after this holiday edition of the paper went to press.
She’s also done most if it with her sister Courtney by her side. A sophomore this year, Courtney has competed in three state meets with Brooke, and that wasn’t lost in the older sister’s signing celebration last week.
“I can’t even really describe what it has meant to have her here for all of this,” said Brooke. “It makes it a lot more special to have someone that I am so close to right next to me for all of these experiences.”
They shared one more last weekend, when Brooke admitted she might take a few extra seconds to soak in the state meet environment.
Very few high school swimmers get the opportunity to swim at state even once, let alone four straight years.
“I feel so lucky,” she said. “I really want to savor it, and have fun with it. To have my high school career end that way, I don’t know if it could get much better.”