Dewitt swimmer aiming for state title, school record

Erik Keisling is ranked third in division three in the 500m Freestyle
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 3:56 PM EST
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DEWITT, Mich. (WILX) - Erik Keisling has all the tools to get it done in the water.

“There was potential even back then when he was 10 or 11 years old and just starting with the sport,” said Dewitt Swim Coach Brock Delaney, “and now we’re lucky he’s grown to six foot five. He has this amazing swimmers physique, and he just he looks smooth in the water.

He’s got the discipline for it as well.

“Three days a week right now, I’m getting up at 5 am at the latest going to the gym or going jump in the pool, which is not a pleasant experience that early,” Keisling told News 10, “and then I’ll go to school for the whole day and I’ll be back in the pool after right after that.”

“He’s one of those kids that I can expect to be first in the water last out,” says Delaney.

Keisling’s effort has him ranked third in the state for the 500 meter freestyle.

It took him lots of hardworking years to get to where he is today.

“I started swimming all the way back in third grade,” he said, “with the minute-long 25 frees to now going to state championships.”

Now, he’s got a chance to break a 35-year Dewitt varsity record: Steve Shipps’ 4:41:54.

“That 4:41 on the board up there seemed pretty unattainable at that point,” Keisling said, “but I kept working through all those early mornings and long afternoons and now here I am.”

Just like every other sport, Keisling says it’s all about the work that happens when no one’s watching.

That’s just all part of the grind.

“You can see those 20-some seconds that go into your 50 free, but it’s thousands of hours that go into making that happen,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”

Keisling says he plans to swim in-state, where he can compete in longer distances.

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