Dathan Wolf grew up playing soccer and didn’t start swimming competitively until his sophomore year of high school.
Two years later, the Columbus East senior has committed to a Division I swimming program. Wolf made the decision earlier this week to continue his swimming career at Valparaiso.
“I started swimming really as a way to stay in shape for soccer and build up muscle,” Wolf said. “It used to be a big goal of mine to play soccer in college, but once I started swimming and saw how good I could be in swimming, I switched focus to what I wanted to do in college.”
Wolf came off the bench to score a goal in the Olympians’ regional soccer match as a junior and was a starter for a sectional championship team this year. But he gave up club soccer after his sophomore year to swim year-round with Club Olympia.
“I had a couple of friends who were swimmers but never would have thought swimming would have been my thing,” Wolf said. “But my first year, my performance at sectional, I thought maybe it was something I could see doing long-term.”
Wolf also visited a pair of smaller schools in Michigan — Hope and Calvin. He said the decision came down to Valpo and Calvin before setting on Valpo.
“I think a lot of it was just team environment from what I saw when I went up there on my visit,” Wolf said. “They’re a fast team that’s able to compete at their conference.”
Wolf, who is receiving an academic scholarship, plans to major in engineering.
“Ultimately, a lot of it came down to academics,” Wolf said. “They have a good engineering program. It was a good fit for academics and athletics.”
Last year, Wolf swam mainly the 200-yard freestyle, 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly. He swam the backstroke leg on East’s state-qualifying 200 medley relay team.
Wolf, who will participate in a signing ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Monday in his school’s commons, has some lofty goals for his senior season.
“I want to try and go for some of those (school) records on the board, but those only go so far as far as sectional is concerned,” Wolf said. “I’m trying to surpass those so I can get my way back to state.”