Devils Prospects: High school swim duo to future college teammates

The 6th and 12th-ranked swimmers in Arizona commit to ASU after swimming together in high school

For Jeremy Graunke, life was surrounded by swimmers, having two older brothers and a sister who all swam through high school. 

But for Christian Osterndorf, the process was a little different. As an outsider to competitive swimming, he learned more about the sport from his neighbor.

The duo, both going into their senior year at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert, Arizona, have been racing each other ever since they met freshman year. 

Osterndorf, who is ranked 6th in Arizona, verbally committed to swim for the Sun Devils on May 19, 2020. 

“I didn’t hear from ASU until late junior year,” Osterndorf said. “It was really slow at first, until I started putting out some impressive times — at least in the high school world.” 

Osterndorf, a sprinter, is known best for his times in the 50-meter freestyle. Osterndorf came with two-tenths of a second to the short course world record of 20.24 in the same event, finishing with 20.42 seconds at the Arizona Senior Open Championships in February. 

Graunke, racing similar events as Osterndorf, had a different approach to his recruitment, but verbally committed on April 18, 2020. 

“I was a little different, I had no plans to swim in college, none of my siblings swam in college so it was kinda just what I was doing in high school,” Graunke said. “Over the summer in between my sophomore and junior year, I got my futures cut, which was pretty big, and I was like maybe I should look into this more."

Both swam at Rio Salado Swim Club, a club ran by USA swimming. 

"I would like to get as close to the state record as possible for a long course just, like club season," Osterndorf said. "Then drop a lot in my other races just so then I’m prepared for college just so then I don’t get there as one of the slowest guys." 

Osterndorf and Graunke are extremely similar swimmers and hope to bring their fast times and competitive nature to the NCAA during their time at ASU. With both of their specialties being the 50-meter freestyle, the two find themselves racing more often than not. Osterndorf swam a 20.42 and Graunke a 20.51. 

Graunke's secret? Blueberry applesauce.

"It's always something I brought to swim meets," Graunke said. "It tastes good, the more I've done it, the more I have found that I like to have it before a sprint event." 

Osterndorf goes the more traditional route with his pre-race rituals. 

"I like to sit behind the blocks, pump some really loud music, just get the energy going, and make sure I'm all pumped up," Osterndorf said. "Sometimes, I get myself a little bit angry and just go out there and kill it."

Rio Salado teammate Nathan Kempiak said how Ostendorf "is super calm and collected when need be, but behind the blocks, he can get so hype." 

Graunke and Osterndorf hope to score points for their new team and are striving to win relays and singles events to hopefully bring home an a Pac-12 championship. 

"Obviously I want to score points," Osterndorf said. "I want to try to be the more positive, uplifting person even though I am more held back personally."

Coach of Rio Salado swim club, Bob Chen, said both are "self-motivated and intrinsic individuals." 

"The biggest difference is probably in their mental behavior," Chen said. "Jeremy tends to be more initially gregarious and extroverted whereas it takes Christian longer to open up. But they are both equally strong friends and teammates. Christian leads through modeling and consensus building. He doesn't do pep talks, but you'll be hard pressed to find any teammate that doesn't like him or respect him." 

Osterndorf and Graunke hope to win at least one Pac-12 and NCAA championship during their time at ASU. 

"I would love to win a relay," Osterndorf said. "An NCAA title or even just a Pac-12 title would be pretty cool."

Graunke agreed, "Winning some Pac-12 or NCAA matches either in an event or a team relay would be super cool."

Graunke wants to major in materials science and engineering and hopes to complete both his undergraduate and his master's degree in nanotechnology during his time at ASU, having done a lot of engineering and robotics during his life. Osterndorf hopes to major in something business-related, possibly sports business

"They are both super smart and (we) are great friends," Kempiak said. "It's really a special thing to have them both as training partners." 


Reach the reporter at lhertz@asu.edu and oeisenha@asu.edu and follow @laurenrachell_ and @o_eisenhauer on Twitter. 

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