Swim and dive prepares for Summit

AUSTIN HAMM Sports Editor

The South Dakota State University swim and dive teams will compete at the 2016 Summit League Championships this week in Indianapolis. The four-day meet runs from Wednesday through Saturday at the IUPUI Natatorium.

Competition begins at 4 p.m. EST Wednesday with the men’s 3-meter diving preliminaries. The event finals, plus the 200-yard medley relays and 800-yard freestyle relays will be contested starting at 6 p.m.

For the last three days of competition, event preliminaries will begin at 11 a.m. EST, with the final sessions starting at 6 p.m.

On the women’s side, senior Kayce Smith and sophomore Kristin Erf are each in the top six of both breaststroke events, with Erf holding the second-fastest time in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.22) so far this season.

First-year swimmer Richelle Bruyckere also holds top-eight showings in the two butterfly events.

“IUPUI, ourselves and Omaha for second,” SDSU head Coach Brad Ericksen said the night before the conference championships started. “It all depends on how our ladies swim and what they do. We can’t control what they do just what we do, so swim the races we can and let things fall where they may.”

Senior diver Olivia Olesiak has set school records on both the 1-meter (275.85 points) and 3-meter (305.71) boards this season and ranks second in both events. Olesiak has also set a Zones-qualifying standard on the 3-meter board.

“The diving is so subjective,” Ericksen said. “If she, or the girl seeded first, makes a mistake they could fall down. They’ve got to hit their dives well twice. She has a good shot. She has beaten her in duels before.”

In the men’s division, senior Ben Bolinske holds two top-four times in the freestyle sprints, with junior Daniel Jacobson ranking in the top eight in both the 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke. Freshman Wyatt Rumrill also holds a pair of top-eight seeds in the breaststroke events.

The Jackrabbit men also figure to pick up a slew of points in the diving events, where freshman Joseph Weber ranks first on the 1-meter board (309.90) and fourth in the 3-meter event (292.64). He is joined by teammates Noah Batenhorst and Parker Brown, who also rank in the top seven in each diving event. Weber will compete at Zones with his 1-meter score meeting a qualifying standard.

“We’ve got as good of shot as anybody for second place [on the men’s side],” Ericksen said.  “It’ll be between us and IUPUI. Other schools have good individuals but we have the depth. Denver is far and above the best team, but we have a good shot for second with our overall team depth.”

Denver is the defending champion in both the men’s and women’s divisions. SDSU finished third out of six teams in the men’s division at the 2015 Summit League Swimming and Diving Championships, while the Jackrabbit women placed second out of seven teams for the second year in a row.

Sunday after the conference championships, the Natatorium pool will be converted to meters to allow some Summit League athletes the opportunity to try for times to qualify for the Olympic Trials. The Jacks will have seven or eight athletes trying to make the qualifying marks.

“It’s an opportunity for the athletes that are tapered and shaved to have the best chance to make that cut,” Ericksen said. “There are a couple [of SDSU swimmers] with a chance. Ben Bolinske and Dan Jacobson have a chance in the sprints, and Kristin Erf has an opportunity as well.”