Record Breaker

Travis Kriens

Travis KriensSportswriter

Rarely is an athlete so dominant so early on.

No matter what sport you talk about, the transition to the next level has a certain learning curve attached to it. The speed of the game is quicker. The competition is better. Practices are harder and more intense. But for some reason, Chris Schreier doesn’t seem to have any of these problems.

The Portage, Indiana, native burst onto the scene this fall for the South Dakota State swimming team and has had unprecedented success so far.

In his first collegiate dual at the University of North Dakota, Schreier won four events and set two school records in the 100 and 200 butterfly.

The first time he swam at the HPER Center pool vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay, he set a pool record of 1 minute, 51.96 seconds in the 200 butterfly.

He earned Summit League swimmer of the week honors on both occasions.

Think about that. Swimming has been going on for decades at SDSU and Schreier had the fastest 100 and 200 butterfly times ever recorded for SDSU in his very first competition. Then he sets the pool record his first time out in a place that has seen over three decades of swimming meets.

He has since gone on to set new school records in the butterfly events that most other swimmers can’t stand.

“Everybody hates it,” Schreier said. “Butterfly is hard to begin with and most can’t even survive a 100 butterfly and you put a 100 on top of that, it’s even harder. I have the endurance for it and I train for it all the time. I find it fun.”

Schreier started swimming when he was around 10 years old and his parents signed him up for a club team later on so that he could get out of the backyard pool. His younger brother Alex also got involved and now Chris’ life revolves around the pool.

When looking at what college to go to, Schreier looked around the area at some of the local schools before deciding on SDSU.

“I just wanted to get out,” said Schreier. “Everyone goes to Indiana or Purdue and I just wanted to say that I went somewhere different.”

“Chris first wrote to us, along with several other schools, in early fall of his senior year,” said Brad Erickson who is in his 35th season as head swimming coach. “He was interested in the nursing program and in a school where he would have success in swimming.”

The scariest part about the whole thing is that Chris is only a freshman and will only get better.

“I never lifted weights in high school and now I think I gained 10 to 15 pounds in muscle mass since I have been here,” said Schreier. “That’s what is helping drop times. You might not think that the more muscle the better in swimming, but it’s working.”

Usually, swimmers peak at the end of the season so that their best times come at the conference championships. So the question remains, how much better can Schreier get?

“I like to set goals and I thought they were kind of high at the time, but that’s what I strive for all the time. I set my goals at the start of the season and I am almost hitting them now. I set some every year, like I wanted to do this before my senior year ended. This year I set a goal of getting first in conference by the end of my senior year. Right now, I am on track to finish in the top three already as a freshman, so it has been pretty good.”

“He has already broken our school record and set his own personal record in most everything he competed in this fall,” Erickson said. “His biggest drops will probably happen this year, with minor drops by the time he graduates. Right now his 200 butterfly time is 1:51.00. I don’t think it is out of his reach to be at 1:45.00 or better by the time he is done.”

As if Schreier needs any extra edge over the completion, he will get it at the Summit League Championships.

With the three-day meet in mid-February being hosted by IUPUI, one of the schools that Schreier looked at, being only about a two-and-a-half hour drive from his hometown, Chris will have quite a few fans on hand. Plus, he has had more than a few meets at the IUPUI pool.

“The other big adjustment, besides academics, would be being away from home for so long,” said Schreier. “I was always at home, parents were always at meets all the time. Now I see them about once a month. (Good thing for Skype he said with a smile on his face) They have been to three or four meets, but that’s the one thing that really been pretty hard.”

“He should have a good following of friends and family, which should motivate him to perform well in front of them,” Erickson pointed out. “Pool familiarity is good, but not an essential part of a great swim. What will be of benefit is that the pool at IUPUI is a fast pool by design.If a pool is known to be a fast pool, swimmers are excited to have the opportunity for a great performance.”

With another victory in the 100 butterfly this past weekend at USD, Schreier upped his career win total to 18. Erickson said that he hasn’t seen anything like it in all his years.

“The season is about two-thirds done at this point and if he keeps on the path that he is on right now, it should be one of the best freshman performances I can remember.”

#1.1918796:575267203.png:chris-BRUA.png:Chris Schreier has set two school records in the butterfly and has helped to set an SDSU record in the 200 medley relay as a freshman. ?I set my goals at the start of the season and I am almost hitting them now,? Schreier said. :Collegian Photo by Stephen Brua