by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
You can’t characterize Peter Schultz as one of those athletes who’ll do anything for the team but sing the national anthem.
Because he’s done that, too. At the Elk swimming team’s opener this year, the CD player wasn’t working, so Schultz, lined up with his team a few feet from the PA, said gimme that mike and crooned the Star Spangled Banner.
“Choir is my big thing,” said Schultz, a senior at Spectrum who attended Rogers HS through 10th grade.”I’m in the regular choir and Chamber Choir. I’ve done the anthem before, at Rogers, and our choir sang it at a basketball game.”
Schultz, who was mainly a football player early on, and didn’t swim until eighth grade, is a two-time all-conference pick and co-captain on a team that’s won all five dual meets and two invitationals this year.
“Peter is a great kid, with good values, and a super leader,” said coach Denise Eidem. “Academics are important to him. That’s why he switched to Spectrum, for the AP classes. He is real coachable. You can tell him to change something in his stroke and he has a sense of what feels right for his body. He is also really competitive. He likes to win and he doesn’t like to lose.”
Schultz, 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, specializes in breaststroke and individual medley. He also swims breaststroke in the medley relay and will be on the 200 free relay for sectionals.
This season Schultz has eight first-places (counting relays) and seven second-places in five dual meets, along with a first-place, four seconds and a third in the two invitationals.
Personal-bests at 1:06.08 in the breaststroke last year at sectionals and 2:09.93 in the 200 IM last Saturday at the Laker Invitational. At sectionals last year he placed fourth in breaststroke, fourth the medley relay and seventh in the IM.
At Rogers, Schultz played football on ninth- and tenth-grade teams, and when he transferred to Spectrum as a junior, he was wide receiver and safety on a team paired with PACT that played against small schools.
They didn’t have enough sign-ups for football this year so Schultz joined Spectrum’s first-year cross country team. He served as their captain and led them all year, including a 20th-place finish at sectionals. “Peter was a phenomenal student leader for us,” said coach Rick Peterson.
Swimming wound up being his main sport. He was on JV in eighth grade, has lettered since ninth grade and made all-NWSC since 10th grade.
“I went out because I didn’t have a winter sport,” said Schultz. “I had always enjoyed swimming in the pool and in lakes, so I though I’d try it.”
Eidem said the coaches could tell right away he was going to be good.
“You could see he was an athlete,” said Eidem. “He’s the kind of kid who can be good in any sport. Give me a smart, athletic kid who has some water sense, like him, and we can do somethng with him.”
Swim practice looks a bit tedious compared to other sports, but not to worry.
“We always make it fun, even though it’s hard work,” said Schultz. “We are more like a family than a team, we’ve been together so long. We are always pushing and encouraging each other and it’s always fun even when we are dying in practice.”
The swim team — a hybrid of ERHS, Rogers, Zimmerman and Spectrum — is one of the more successful local programs year after year. The Elks were second in conference and third in the true-team section last year.
This is a big week for the Elks. On Thursday night they beat Anoka in what is their most-anticipated dual meet each year, for second place in the NWSC (Maple Grove is unbeatable). Today (Saturday) they’ll try for the section true-team title in Alexandria, after placing third last year behind two teams who graduated heavily.
“That’s my goal this year, to go to state as a team,” said Schultz, one of nine seniors for whom it’s now or never.
Schultz other passion is church. He’s on the youth worship team at North Ridge Fellowship in Rogers and aspires to a career in the ministry.
The Schultz scorecard
Personal file — Age: 17 … Family: parents Julie and Lewie; sisters Amy, 25, Sara, 20, Rebecca, 15, and Lauren, 12; brothers Josh, 24, Joel, 22, and Nick, 17 … Sports: swimming, cross country, football … Academics: 3.8 GPA … Other activities: student council, National Honor Society, choir, school plays … College plans: probably Crown or Gustavus, probably worship ministries major
Favorite stuff — Class: choir … TV show: “Prison Break” … Movie: “Matrix” … Music: Shane & Shane, Jeremy Camp … Food: pepperoni pizza … Drink: Zault in off-season, milk during season … Teams: L.A. Lakers, Seattle Seahawks … Athlete: Joe Mauer … Reading: The Bible … Place he’d like to visit: Washington State (home for first 8 years)