Going the distance

Travis Kriens

Travis KriensSportswriter


The 2010-11 SDSU’s men’s swimming and diving team seems poised to improve on their best Summit League finish last season with a squad made up of equally talented veterans and underclassmen.

The Jacks have five swimmers and divers at every class and may have had the best team, top to bottom, in the last five years.

“I think that the overall difference is the quality that we have coming in,” said head coach Brad Erickson, who is entering his 35th season. “We only lost two seniors so we are very versatile and have options.”

Erickson will look to seniors Jason Garder and Mark Sandager to lead. Both were a part of separate relay record setting teams at the conference championships.

The most outstanding swimmer of last season was freshman Kyle Ochsner. Ochsner excelled in distance freestyle events as was evident with his nine victories, three school records and earning Summit League swimmer of the week.

On the diving side, Brad Schoreit could not have started off his college career any better than by breaking the 29-year-old school record in 3-meter diving in the season opening meet vs. the University of North Dakota last season.

Schoreit was selected Summit League Athlete of the Week for his performance. The Omaha, Neb. native would go on to break the 3-meter record four times as well as the 1-meter record twice.

Another standout freshman from last year was Shea Patrick who competed in breaststroke and individual medley events. Patrick set career best marks in the 100 and 200 breaststroke as well as the 200 IM at the 2010 conference meet.

“All have made great improvements in that first year and we look for that to continue this year,” Erickson said.

A pair of freshman that can be immediate impact performers according to Erickson are Chris Schreier and Phil Albu. Schreier is a butterflyer that is very versatile, while Albu will help the Jacks in the backstroke.

The mix of youth and experience will bode well for SDSU and give motivation for both sides.

“The veterans are going to look at those trying to keep their spot and improve on where they finished last season, while the young kids are shooting for those upperclassmen,” Erickson said.

SDSU has always stayed steady or improved on their Summit League finishes each year they have been in the league, and this season should be no different.

“We would hope to improve on that fourth place finish from a year ago,” Erickson said. “With the freshman that we have coming in and improvements with our divers, that will only help in scoring at conference. Those things added with the improvement of those that we already have on the squad will give us that depth and experience to improve in the standings.”


After having experience to rely on in the past few seasons, this year’s SDSU women’s swimming and diving team will have an injection of youth like they have never seen before.

The Jacks will try and replace the nine seniors they lost from last season’s second place Summit League squad with a record 15 freshmen.

That makes the teams two seniors, Alex Hoffman and Cassie Kozar, leadership skills much more significant, along with the six returning juniors.

“Those two seniors will definitely have leadership roles that will be developing and important,” said head coach Brad Erickson who is entering his 35th season at the helm.

Hoffman is entering her final season of an outstanding career as a Jackrabbit. In her first two years, the Eureka native holds seven school records along with 35 wins, including 24 during last season.

With only two seniors, the SDSU junior class will have a chance to step up, led by Jessica Ferley and Ashley Valdez.

Ferley has excelled in freestyle and backstroke events, while Valdez has done the same in the butterfly. Over the past two years, both have solidified SDSU’s relay teams with a combined 34 relay victories, as well as, rewriting the school record book. Valdez has been a part of two relay records, while Ferley has been a member of all five school- record relay events.

“The maturity and leadership that we lost from those seniors is big. We expect that each year our swimmers are here, they are developing leadership skills, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be a senior. We have some juniors that are very capable of stepping in as well.”

One of the biggest holes that SDSU will have to fill is the loss of Katie Budahl who ended her career with 42 wins and four school records in only two seasons. Erickson will look to freshmen Alanah Bird and Stephanie Young to pick up some of that slack, especially in Budahl’s feature event: the breaststroke.

“Hopefully we can replace some of that quality lost with Budahl with a little bit of depth added by Bird and Young,” Erickson said.

A few other freshmen that could have immediate impacts are Emma Gaulke-Janowski in distance freestyle, Fawn Weihl in mid-distance freestyle/butterfly and Emma Wright in butterfly and individual medley events.

Two names that will sound familiar are (Kayleigh) Boucher and (Katie) Budahl. Both were seniors that graduated, but both have freshmen siblings ready to take their place.

Kelsey Boucher will swim distance freestyle like her sister, but Andrea Budahl is just the opposite of hers. Andrea is very versatile and can compete in any event according to Erickson, except the breaststroke, which was Katie’s specialty.

Even with the young team, Erickson sees no reason why the Jacks should take a step back.

“I would be very disappointed if we didn’t hold on to that spot of runner-up at the conference meet. Our goal is obviously to win the conference and each year we have been in the league, we have moved up and narrowed the gap that separates Oakland and us.”