Home finale goes swimmingly against USD

John Green

It was all smiles on Senior Day as the SDSU swim team hosted USD at the HPER Pool on Saturday, Jan. 21. The Jackrabbit men downed USD 152-74, while the SDSU women topped the Coyotes 140-97.

The Jacks were able to capture momentum early, picking up first place finishes in both 200-yard medley relays in addition to sweeping the top three places in both the women’s and the men’s 1000-yard freestyle.

From that point, the stage was set for what would be a dominating performance for both the SDSU men and women.

Before the Jacks could continue on their roll, USD would claim first place finishes in both the men’s and women’s 200-yard freestyle, and the women’s 50-yard freestyle.

The Jackrabbits quickly regained momentum, and fittingly, it was a senior who got it started for the SDSU women’s team. Senior Morgan McLain had a tremendous day, winning three events outright.

“This was probably the best that I’ve swam in a dual meet,” McLain said.

McLain attributed her performance, and the team’s performance in general, to a superior level of mental focus stressed by the coaches in practice this week.

“The coaches really didn’t take it easy on us, even though we’ve had two meets this week.  We were pretty run down coming into the meet today, but we’ve been able to fight through it [and] come out on top,” she said.

On the men’s side it was a combined effort by Wil Hogue, Chris Schreier, and Shea Patrick that put the nails in the coffin for the Coyotes. Hogue, a freshman, picked up wins in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle, as well as anchoring the Jacks first place 200-yard medley relay.

“We were ready to compete today. Being rivals with USD, it meant a lot to us to be the best in the state. We were ready physically, and it didn’t take much to get us motivated for today’s meet,” Hogue said.

It was this motivation and confidence that head coach Brad Erickson stressed would be essential as the season comes to an end.

“Competing at this level, considering how worn down the athletes were, it gives them confidence. They know that they can overcome and fight through adversity in a meet because we’ve done it now,” Erickson said.

The Jacks will be traveling to Grand Forks, N.D. on Jan. 27 to swim against the University of North Dakota for the second meeting between the two schools this season.

In their first meeting, UND topped SDSU in Brookings. Erickson is hoping to return the favor next Friday, and he believes the Jackrabbits may be ready to do just that.

“They had to fight through a lot these last few weeks, and they’re swimming at a very high level.  It gives them confidence to win away from home,” he said.

The Jackrabbits will be swimming at the University of North Dakota on Jan. 27, in addition to the Minnesota Challenge, hosted in Minneapolis on Feb. 3 and 4. The Summit League Championships will be hosted in Rochester, Mich., beginning Feb. 15-18.