Rapids' Viren a State Champion and Vegetarian

By KBJR News 1

September 18, 2013 Updated Sep 18, 2013 at 10:08 PM CDT

Grand Rapids, MN (NNCNOW.com) ---Solveig Viren has a pre–race meal different than most swimmers.

"I'm vegetarian."

Viren's been a vegetarian since she was five–years–old and said she changed her habits after her grandparents read her Charlotte's Web.

"I knew what meat was before that, but I hadn't really thought about it. After that, we went, and I ordered a burger and I asked them what was in it. Then I just didn't eat it. I guess I've been vegetarian ever since."

"It's a science to her," said head coach Jerry Casey. "She studies everything. Being a vegetarian, I don't think it's hampered her one bit."

Viren started swimming varsity in seventh grade for the 'Hawks but admits it was hard being the youngest.

"All of the older girls were like you're taking my spot. We didn't really get along as well. By the end of that year even, I was getting along with the team more."

It didn't take long though for Viren to develop as one of the team's top swimmers.

If you were to pick out Viren at the middle school pool in Grand Rapids, it wouldn't be as easy as you think. Despite winning last year's state title, Coach Casey said she's as humble as they come.

"She wouldn't tell you she's a state champion," said Casey. "She's never talked about being a state champion. She's talked about her goals and what she wants to accomplish and part of that is being a state champ."

If she wants to repeat as a state champion this year, both Viren and Coach Casey know its going to be even tougher.

"My coach always tells me it's harder to stay king of the hill then get king of the hill so I always think that," said Viren.

"That's our goal. We want her to be a two–time state champion this year," said Casey.

A potential two–time state champion, who's happy to swim like a fish, just don't ask her to eat one.

Posted by Sarah Wheeler
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