Depth carries Jacks at conference championships


The SDSU men’s and women’s swim and dive team finished third and second, respectively, at the Summit League Championships in Indianapolis. Team depth provided the Jacks opportunities to pick up points despite Denver dominating both competitions. 

AUSTIN HAMM Sports Editor

The South Dakota State University men’s and women’s swim and dive teams competed in the Summit League Championships in Indianapolis. The women finished in second, while the men finished third.

“I was very pleased on both ends of it,” said SDSU head coach Brad Erickson. “Denver is that top team. They are so far ahead of the other schools, so it’s kind of like competing for that other first place [when competing for second].”

On the men’s side, the Jacks came into the championships with aspirations of taking second but fell short of the goal as host Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis outperformed expectations.

“I thought it was going to be closer than it was, but their divers performed better than expected,” Erickson said. “That wasn’t the sole reason, but that made it more out of reach. For them, being at home gave them a little bit of an advantage. They were the better team for that weekend.”

Chris Angerhofer, Ben Bolinske and Wyatt Rumrill set individual school records on the final day of competition Feb. 20 at the 2016 Summit League Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships, leading South Dakota State to a third-place finish in the team standings.

Angerhofer, a junior from Sioux Falls, lowered his own record in the 1,650-yard freestyle, en route to a fifth place finish.

Rumrill set one of the oldest records in program history by posting a third-place time of 2:01.31 in the 200-yard breaststroke. Chad Thomsen set the previous record of 2:02.64 in 2007.

Bolinske, a senior from Williston, North Dakota, broke his own standard in the 100 freestyle on three different occasions Feb. 20. He clocked a record time of 44.88 seconds in the morning preliminaries then tied for third place in the finals with a time of 44.53 seconds. In the final event of the meet, Bolinske led off the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 44.39 seconds in helping the Jackrabbits set another school record with a time of 2:59.62, teaming with Pierce Oja, Tony Mikrut and Daniel Jacobson for a third-place finish.

On the women’s side, the Jacks came out on top of what looked like a four-team race for second.

“That second spot really was up for grabs, but our ladies stepped up to that next level and just performed outstanding,” Erickson said. “It was a good end for the season for our ladies. Just across the board, every athlete performed well.”

The women were led by Olivia Olesiak’s high finishes in the dives, and fourth place swims from Kristin Erf and Alexandra Yaeger in the 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard backstroke, respectively.

Olesiak was runner-up in the 1-meter diving competition Feb. 18 and turned in a third-place finish on the 3-meter board Feb. 20 evening with a score of 251.15 points. The senior from Wyoming, Minnesota, has qualified for the NCAA Zones competition in early March.

Denver made it a sweep of the team titles, winning the women’s division with 1,066 points. The Jackrabbits were second with 534.5 points, while the University of South Dakota used a late surge to overtake IUPUI for third place by one point, 490-489.

Depth was key for the Jacks, who scored a lot of their points by stacking up finishers behind the Denver swimmers who were piling up in the top spots. According to Erickson, the ability to take those points made all the difference for the Jacks finishing as highly as they did.

“Because of Denver’s depth, that made the other scoring positions more valuable,” Erickson said. “When you only have half of the places that you’re scoring points with, your No.1 and No. 2 have to be really close to have that depth. I don’t think we had anyone that didn’t score at least one point, and that was big for us.”

Olesiak and fellow diver Joey Webb are the only Jackrabbits who will continue their seasons from here since they have qualified NCAA Zones at Texas A&M in early March.