Dagny Knutson was invisible to me six months ago. I had never heard of her and now she is the USOC's springtime ingenue.
The USOC is funding both her training and swim meet expenses and she will be traveling in the ensuing months to various Grand Prix meets so we will have more opportunities to see her swim.
She lives in North Dakota and faces tremendous adversity just getting to the pool in the morning and that is not hyperbole. When it's 14-degrees below zero and you got to go outside to get to the pool, that's not weather, that's a crisis!
From the Washington Post:
"...Knutson (pronounced Kah-NUTE-son), 17, won seven gold medals in January during the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Guam, where she swam the 200-meter individual medley in a time (2 minutes 10.79 seconds) that would have earned her fifth place at the Beijing Olympics. Her times in the 200 freestyle (1:57.73) and 400 individual medley (4:40.10) would have ranked her seventh and eighth, respectively.
A month earlier at the U.S. national short-course championships in Atlanta, she beat Olympic star Katie Hoff's one-year-old American record in the 400-yard individual medley by .04 of a second with a time of 4:00.62. A month before that, Knutson, a junior at Minot High, broke three national high school records, including one set in 1988 by Janet Evans.
"I didn't see this coming," Knutson said. "I've been really focused, really just working hard to reach the goals I have in mind."
In January, the U.S. Olympic Committee awarded Knutson funding it usually reserves for members of national teams...."