Gould, a Nelson High School senior, nearly broke the Oregon 6A record in the 100-yard backstroke last season.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Quinlan Gould, who swims for Adrienne C. Nelson High School and the Lake Oswego Swim Club, recently committed to Arizona State University.He was a late bloomer by his own accord.

As a high school freshman, Quinlan Gould was 5-foot-8. His competition?

"Pretty much grown men," he said.

Already an avid swimmer, Gould knew he had the skill to catch up to the field. The ensuing eight-inch growth spurt certainly didn't hurt.

"I kind of knew I had the potential to (go Division I)," he said. "I just had to do it."

A senior at Adrienne C. Nelson High School — who doubles as a member of the Lake Oswego Swim Club — Gould won gold at the OSAA 6A in the 100-yard backstroke last year (48.93 seconds) and came within half a second of breaking the all-time Oregon high school record (Patrick Mulcare, Southridge, 48.53, 2014). Just two weeks later, he doubled down, earning personal bests in the 50-yard freestyle, 100 freestyle, and 200 backstroke at Oregon Swimming's Region XII Championships for the Lake Oswego team.

This year, he's got the potential to break the Oregon state record. As Gould enters his senior year, it will be a race to the finish before he heads to Phoenix, Arizona, next fall where he'll join Arizona State's swim team after committing to the program last week.

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"I kind of knew ASU was my dream school considering the programs that they have for education, and their team is just phenomenal," Gould said. "I knew that I really wanted to be with them — and their coaches Bob Bowman and Herbie Behm, they're amazing. I just knew that was the one for me.

"(Behm) made me seem like I was very important."

Gould said his recruiting process — which included both him reaching out to schools via letters and emails as well as a select few approaching him — was relatively seamless. Given his record-setting junior season, the cycle was "stress-free."

"I think Arizona State's incredibly lucky that he chose them," Gould's high school coach Sam Nelson said. "I'm excited to follow his career and see what he can do at the next level."

Nelson has been Gould's high school coach for just a single season, but he's gotten quite the preview of the potential that the once-late bloomer has to offer a collegiate program.

"He really led by example with a lot of the other swimmers because he is a special athlete," Nelson said. "Having him on the team and kind of showcasing the work ethic and the determination it takes to really reach that next level is great to have on the team."

Gould has quickly become an example for his teammates. Younger teammates have approached him, picking his brain on what it takes to be a successful high school and club swimmer, as well as how to balance them in tandem.

He gives them tips whenever he finds the time, because it wasn't long ago that the now-highly accomplished Gould felt overmatched and overwhelmed by the prospect of high school swimming.

Soon, he'll be making a similar adjustment at Arizona State. But this time, he won't be a boy amongst men.

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