Swim and dive teams compete in Florida

AUSTIN HAMM Sports Editor

The cold snap running through Brookings hit the swim and dive team a little harder than most, but that’s to be expected when they spent the last week of winter break in St. Petersburg, Fla. 

“Friday afternoon it was 75 (degrees) and just beautiful out,” SDSU head coach Brad Erickson said. “Then we get back here on Sunday and it was 15 below zero. And that hurt.”

SDSU takes an annual trip to St. Petersburg to train and play host to the St. Pete’s Classic, which gives the Jacks a chance to keep a competitive mindset in the relay meet as they head into a week of tough training filled with two-a-days, dry land work and plenty of ice bags on their shoulders.

“We got in on Saturday and got about an hour of training in that night, then got up Sunday morning and hosted the Classic,” Erickson said. “We did pretty well. As a relay meet it shows your depth more than anything else.”

The men’s squad won the Classic team title after winning eight of the nine relays in the meet.

The Jackrabbits tallied 118 points to win the five-team meet. The College of Wooster (Ohio) was second with 86 points, with SUNY-New Paltz taking third with 74 points.

After being edged in the opening relay, the Jackrabbits won the final eight events, starting with the 800-yard freestyle relay as the quartet of Matthew Carpenter, Chris Rumrill, Chris Angerhofer and Ben Sieve took the win.

The trio of Garth Wadsworth, Donovan Taylor and Tony Mikrut won the 3×100 butterfly relay by nearly seven seconds, while the team of Chase Petersen, Connor McGinnis and Daniel Jacobson followed with a win in the 3×100 backstroke relay.

SDSU made it a sweep of the single-stroke 3×100 relays as Wyatt Rumrill, Josh DeDina and Pierce Oja claimed the breaststroke event.

Mikrut, Wadsworth and Carpenter were each part of three winning relays. The duo of Mikrut and Wadsworth formed half of the Jackrabbits’ winning 500-yard freestyle relay, teaming with Ben Bolinske and Thomas Davey. Mikrut also swam on SDSU’s victorious 200 medley relay, joining forces with Petersen, Rumill and Bolinske.

Wadsworth helped close the meet by teaming with Jacobson, Rumrill and Carpenter for a win in the 400 freestyle relay. Carpenter also teamed with Angerhofer and Weston Christensen for a win in the 3×500 scramble relay.

In the women’s competition, SDSU won three event titles en route to a runner-up finish.

The Jackrabbits opened the meet by winning the 200-yard freestyle relay with the foursome Abby Zenner, Gabrielle Langerud, Cassie Hendricks and Jade Goosen.

Also victorious on Sunday was the 3×100 breaststroke relay team of Sydney Rasmussen, Kayce Smith and Kristin Erf with a top time of 3:32.64.

The final SDSU victory of the day came in the 200 medley relay, where the Samantha Prasher, Smith, Erf and Zenner team won by seven-plus seconds.

DePauw University (Ind.) won the six-team women’s division with 102 points, edging the Jackrabbits with 96 points.

Though it’s a chance for the athletes to enjoy some warmth and compete in the classic, the main point of the trip is the training, and Erickson thought the Jacks got some quality work in.

“Our meet was at about 10 on Sunday morning, wrapped up about 12 and we had a second practice a two o’clock,” Ericksen said. “Monday though we were going two-a-days plus a lot of dry land. All in all it was a very successful trip.”

Both the Jackrabbit men’s and women’s teams return to action Jan. 16 with a dual at St. Cloud State (Minn.).

“It’s a six-week season. Six weeks and we’re at conference,” Erickson said. “We talk about the fact that every swim, all the yards or meters you put in, we don’t have any room for slacking. It’s all down to business.”