Blugold Hall of Fame
A backstroke and sprint freestyler, Al Opsahl was a four-year All-American on Blugold swim teams from 1980 through 84. During his career, the Blugolds won four conference titles and placed fourth twice, sixth once and eighth once in the NAIA national championships.
Opsahl was a conference champion on Blugold 400 freestyle relay, 400 medley relay and 800 freestyle relay teams. The Blugolds set both a school and conference record in the 400 freestyle relay his junior year. His best individual finish was a runner-up in the 100 backstroke as a junior. In both his junior and senior years, he finished among the top five in both the 100 and 200 backstroke events. He contributed 54 team points as a senior, 42 as a junior and 31 as a sophomore toward the Blugolds' conference championships.
Opsahl served as team captain in 1983-84, the same year he was the team's Most Inspirational award winner. He received the Most Improved and Most Inspirational awards in his sophomore year. In 1982-83, he was UW-Eau Claire's WSUC Scholar-Athlete award recipient when only one athlete was selected to represent the entire institution each year. Opsahl earned NAIA Academic All-America honors two years.
After his eligibility was completed, Opsahl served as an assistant Blugold coach after returning from a semester in Copenhagen, Denmark in the Danish International Studies Program.
A native of Austin, Minnesota, Opsahl graduated cum laude in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in biology and a minor in math.
Following his graduation from Eau Claire, Opsahl spent three years in the education field before landing a position as a senior technologist at Kraft General Foods Technology Center. After five years there, he moved on to Pharmacia in Global Toxicology. He is currently the Manager of the Digital Image Lab for the Preclinical Pathology Group.
He received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1990 at the Kraft General Foods Basic Science Day. He received the Ace Award in 1995 from Searle/Pharmacia.
Opsahl has had 10 papers or presentations in his area of expertise, the most recent a publication in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
Opsahl has stayed involved in swimming, spending the past 15 years as head swim coach of the Lattof Neptune Swim Team at the Lattof International YMCA in Des Plaines, Illinois. He has worked with an average of 150 swimmers a year and his teams have been the combined Chicago District Champions in six of the last seven years. His program has produced an average of 35 state qualifiers each year.
Opsahl and his wife Lisa have four children-Adam, age 6; twins Evan and Ethan, age 4; and Megan, age 1.