Coach’s Candor: 10.26.11


Editor’s note: Brad Erickson is entering his 36th season as head coach of the Jackrabbit men’s and women’s swimming teams. Erickson’s teams plan to improve on their high conference finish in 2010. The Collegian caught up with him and talked to him about his team’s skill level, his time at SDSU and the level of swimmers in the Rushmore State.

Q. How have things changed since you first started coaching 36 years ago?

A. When I first started here, I was considered full time swimming but I was also an assistant football coach for 15 years and then had the intramural program. We were pretty much a non-scholarship walk-on type of a program. Especially in the last six years since we moved to Division I, being funded, being able to recruit, and being able to get some good quality athletes, that’s probably the biggest change.

Q. Of the 24 events for both men’s and women’s swimming and diving, 18 school records were set by the men’s team and 17 records were set by the women in the past two years. What does that say about the quality of program and athlete now at SDSU?

A. The biggest thing is you think every year ‘When is this going to stop?’. To break 18 and 17 records in two years is just unheard of. Like I said with the ability to recruit good athletes, since we got scholarship money, that’s giving us a chance to go out and get better and better athletes each year. Kids that came in four years ago, when they get to be seniors, some of them, if they had those same times as seniors in high school now, we probably wouldn’t ask them on. The quality is getting that good year by year. Hopefully for the foreseeable future, those records will continue to fall as we continue to get better and better athletes.

Q. Obviously South Dakota isn’t exactly a prep swimming hotbed, so how does that affect your recruiting? 

A. We recruit all over the country. We’ve gotten better and better in our conference, the women have finished second the last two years, and the men have moved up from last place to third