Swimmers look to make waves in their second conference meet

Kirk Danielson

Kirk Danielson

This time of the year, water is the enemy. It forces us to shovel, to scrape the windows of our cars and to wait forever for it to warm up. The SDSU swim team has a different relationship with water, and this week, that relationship takes them to Indianapolis, Ind., for the Mid-Continent Conference Championships. The men’s and women’s swim teams will compete, as they have the last two years, as part of the Mid-Con, with the chance to bring home some awards.

This year’s swim team consists of 40 swimmers – 26 women and 14 men. The team is comprised of students from all over the country and from many different majors. The swim teams are very young. Together, both teams have only three seniors and six juniors. But youth is not a negative for this team, as Head Coach Brad Erickson pointed out.

“SDSU is fielding a higher quality, more competitive team than in past years,” he said

The teams have competed primarily in the Midwest this year, with an early January trip down to St. Petersburg, Fla. being their most distant competition. In Florida, the Jacks downed Pfeiffer College (North Carolina). The men won, 103-80, and the women scored a 108-68 victory. The team travels to Indianapolis for the second time in a month this weekend to compete in what Erickson calls “the best collegiate swimming facility in the nation.”

During the previous trip to Indianapolis, the women went 4-2 in the IUPUI Quadrangular, beating Butler, 91-20 and 97-15, and IUPUI, 67-45 and 64-45. The men sank Butler University, 58-37 and 57-29, and finished 2-4 at the tournament.

Erickson was pleased with the teams’ regular seasons.

“We were very representative of the talent that we got. We have several athletes that have hit either lifetime best swims, or season best swims up to this point, and we still have the conference championships left,” he said.

Because the swim teams joined the Mid-Con as associate members before SDSU became a full member, this year is not the first year in the conference meet for the Jacks.

“We’re a more competitive team this year versus the big name schools. It’s a big thing, having a championship at the end to compete for. Most of the other sports now are finding an independent tournament to go to. We’re very lucky to already be established in this tournament,” Erickson said.

In the conference championship, SDSU will compete in 36 events, including five team relays. The various freestyle events will be the main showcase of the event.

Some SDSU men’s swimmers to watch for in the Mid-Continent Championship are Chad Thompsen from Baarhead, Alberta; Mark Garrigues from Yakima, Wash., and Chris Holzwarth from Paradise, Calif. Thompsen, a transfer student from Hawaii, is seeded No. 1 in 100 breaststroke, and No. 2 in 200 breaststroke going into the championship competition.

The women’s team features sophomore Mallory Onisk from Bear, Del. She was the Independent Division swimming and diving athlete of the week in December. She won the 200 butterfly and broke her own school record in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:42.38 at a meet in Green Bay, Wis. She was also part of the 200 medley, which set a school record of 1:53.96.

Other women swimmers to watch for are freshman Rachel Musser from Overland Park, Kan., and freshman Kayleigh Boucher, a four year all-conference swimmer in high school.