Peggy Kemp Kratz (Inducted 2021)

Peggy Kemp Kratz is no stranger to Hall of Fame inductions. Her illustrious swimming career includes memberships in the Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Hamline University, and St. Catherine University Halls of Fame. But like many in the Minnesota Masters Swimming Hall of Fame, her illustrious career had humble beginnings.

Peggy began in a learn-to-swim program at the Wayzata Swim Club where she could not complete one length of the pool. Yet, she persevered, and learned as many do, by simply following and imitating the swimmer in front of her. She did know, however, that she liked swimming and loved working out. As she began showing promise, her coach, Olympian Virg Luken, asked, “do you want to be good, or want to be great?” To which the naïve and novice swimmer Peggy admitted, “I didn’t know what he was talking about.”

Throughout her development enroute to Masters Swimming, Peggy was blessed with a number of outstanding coaches, all of whom contributed to her success. From Dennis Dale (MN Swimming Hall of Famer), through Steve Hanson, Dave Jones, who shepherded Peggy to State Championships in the 200 and 500 Freestyle, while swimming with the boys at Benilde-St. Margaret’s. In college, her string of Hall of Fame coaches continued with Marty Knight at Hamline and Dave Luedtke at St. Catherine, where she dominated the MIAC in distance freestyle. Her School Record in the 500 Free that stood for over 30 years.

She began her quarter-century with Minnesota Masters with a big splash after moving from Grand Forks, ND, joining the Edina Masters group. There, she met like-minded people, and is so typical of the Masters Swimming experience, immediately felt a part of the scene. It was shortly thereafter she attended her first LCM Nationals in Minneapolis, placing in the top 10 four times. This was the beginning of a meaningful connection for Peggy, as she loved going to Nationals, seeking out and finding inspiration in the stories of those swimming in the older age group—among them a woman who started swimming at age 70 to rehab a broken hip.

Peggy also has great affection for open water swimming, with success to attest to her passion. It was the need for something new, “I had done everything in the pool.” Her first open-water meet was in Alexandria, where she mostly remembered the cold! Currently, her Riptide teammates join in, recently and notably a Thanksgiving, 2020 swim where the air and water temperatures were each a crisp 39 degrees.

In both the pool and open water, Peggy has since broken numerous individual State Records and currently holds sixteen. She has posted 33 individual and 16 relay National Top 10 times. Her crowning achievements however, might well be her two Masters Long Distance All American (National Championship) performances, with the 2014 championship involving four hours of racing over a course in the Greater than Nine Mile category. Her favorite Masters swims remain a mix of both, with the 200 Fly and Point-to-Point Swim bringing equal pleasure.

Equal to her prowess in the water, Peggy is a strong volunteer presence, coaching at Riptide, volunteering at meets, organizing special events, and bringing a consistent, positive presence to practices and meet. When asked about her involvement, Peggy’s response is a perfect reflection of her own approach to Masters Swimming, “Masters are just great people.”

 

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About Minnesota Masters Swimming

Minnesota Masters Swimming LMSC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to a healthy swimming lifestyle for adult swimmers within 87 counties in Minnesota and 3 in Western Wisconsin. It is the local governing body for United States Masters Swimming (USMS).

There are 1,172 registered swimmers in the Minnesota LMSC and over 60,000 nationwide. Anyone 18 years of age or older is eligible to join. No prior competitive swimming experience is necessary.

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