BOULDER — Identical twins Emily and Lauren Sampl have been around the sport of swimming since they were little kids growing up in Fort Collins.

The passion and success in the sport has opened a lot of doors and provided a plethora of opportunities. They swam at state, earned college scholarships to the University of New Hampshire and continue to compete in Masters programs.

But perhaps the twins' greatest love comes from coaching and upon their return to Colorado (Boulder in particular) they each latched on with clubs and high schools around town.

What happened next was eventually bound to happen.

Emily took charge of the Boulder High program last year for Curt Colby, and Lauren, a longtime assistant at Fairview, assumed the reins of the Knights program when former head coach Amy Webb stepped away after the end of last season.

"It is definitely unique," said Emily, whose Panthers finished fifth at the Class 5A state meet last season at the Air Force Academy. "We've always been around and coaching the same team, and we weren't really expecting this, but as soon as it happened, it's been really cool."

To take this already unique situation even deeper, Emily and Lauren live together.

Purple Panthers and Red Knights living in harmony under the same roof?


They wouldn't have it any other way. They are living proof that blood is thicker than water and want nothing but the best for the other; even when they face each other in the annual dual in the pool on April 18 at the South Boulder Rec Center.

"I don't think it'll be any different than any other year," said Emily, whose parents will be in attendance for the meet for the first time. "Neither one of us is all that competitive and we have always kind of been each others biggest fan. We both want to do well and it is just as important that the other does well too."

Lauren, who was an assistant at Fairview for six years before taking over this year, agreed with her sister, but also added a little caveat: "We both really want to win, but more for the team. It's not like I want to win, I just want my team to swim well enough to win and that is what she wants for her team too."

Lauren is more than aware of her team's history with Boulder, noting "that we've never lost in the six years I've been here and that is one streak I want to keep alive."

That is about the extent of venom or bulletin board material that you will get out of either one of them.

Lauren, who was given more of a leadership role with the Knights over the past few season by Webb, has stepped right in and made the transition to head coach as easy as possible. It doesn't hurt that she has a roster full of some of the state best including Harvard-bound senior Michael Zarian.

"He could probably win just about any event," Lauren said. "I'm blessed to have him."

Jon Yunt: or