Alaska, Washington, Delaware and Wyoming are not really the states that come to mind when thinking about SDSU athletics. Brad Erickson, head coach of the SDSU men’s and women’s swimming/diving teams, knows all too well about going beyond the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota to get the best athletes for SDSU.
Erickson realizes the importance of recruiting great athletes for his teams. “Part of it is word of mouth. We got a half a dozen from Alaska and I think once they’ve seen we’ve got a good program here, a good university and the price is right … hopefully that can be something we can continue with the group from Alaska,” said Erickson. The second way athletes come to SDSU from non-traditional states is by seeking SDSU out, or Erickson and staff recruit the athletes.
“A lot of them want to have a Division I experience. They look at places where they can be competitive and productive,” said Erickson. “The move to Division I has given us a bigger recruiting area.”
Not only have the athletes traveled from far away, but they have also brought great success with them. For two straight seasons SDSU women and men set 16 straight records. With the Division I reclassification, the competition has dramatically increased at SDSU. Being in the Summit League has given both the men and the women a chance at the championships. Erickson is very pleased that his team is able to compete in Indianapolis and Oakland University (Mich.), two impressive facilities which host the Summit League.
One record was unofficially broken by junior Mark Garrigues in the 100-meter butterfly. Garrigues broke the butterfly record, despite competing in the race as a non-qualified swimmer. SDSU went on to beat the University of South Dakota 197-113. Cade Roberts had two victories in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. SDSU relay teams secured first and second place in the meet.
The SDSU Women look to improve on their fifth-place conference-league ranking in the 2007 season. Freshmen Alex Hoffman has already set a school record in the 200-meter backstroke against Iowa State with a time of 2:09.32.
The team goals this year are to improve from the previous year. “Last year we finished forth (men) and fifth (women) in the Summit League Championships, back then Mid-Con, so we’ll look to move up a notch on both sides,” said Erickson. The second goal for the men’s and women’s swimming team is for everybody to have a best time, either career or season, Erickson said.
The SDSU women swimmers look to nab their first victory in a tri-meet with Northern Iowa and Northern Colorado at Cedar Falls, Iowa on Nov. 10. The men’s swimming/diving team looks to earn a victory at the St. John’s Invitational at Collegeville, Minn. on Nov. 10. The Summit League championships, which take place on Feb. 21-23 at Rochester, Mich., will conclude their season.