The upcoming 2011-2012 season for the South Dakota men’s and women’s swimming and diving team looks to start right where it left off last season.
In the most recent Summit League conference poll, the USD women captured a third place ranking, while the men secured fourth.
The Coyotes, who kicked off their season Oct. 1 with their Red vs. White exhibition meet, are returning with six
athletes who received All-Summit League honors a year ago. The women’s team is led by the three-time Summit League individual champion, senior Elizabeth Hoffman. The other all-league returners are junior Kaitlyn Jefferson and sophomore Mariah Anderson.
Hoffman returns to the team after winning the individual title in both the 50 meter and 200 meter freestyle at last year’s Summit League Championships, where she also anchored the Coyotes’ 400 meter freestyle relay, which placed second.
The men’s squad will rely on the leadership of four standout seniors this year, Chad Hause, Thad Stoddard, Terry Rolfe, and Dane Van Arkel. All three of the Coyotes’ returning all-league members are seniors, including Hause, Stoddard, and Rolfe.
Hause was the USD men’s highest finisher at last season’s conference championships where he finished third in the one-meter dive. The men’s 400 freestyle relay which placed fifth returns three members, Rolfe, Stoddard, and senior Gabe Sands.
This season’s schedule consists of thirteen regular season meets and the Summit League Conference Championships in Rochester, MI in February. Included in the regular season meets, the Coyotes face rival South Dakota State University on Nov. 19 at home and they travel as far as Green Bay, WI for the Wisconsin-Green Bay meet.
The swimming and diving team’s first meet will be held Oct. 15th in the DakotaDome at 1 p.m. versus North Dakota and St. Cloud State.
Head Coach Jason Mahowald said the team can’t wait to start the season and figure out where they are at as a team.
“We’ve been looking forward to watching the kids race,” Mahowald said. “It’s good to race someone besides competition.”
Senior captain and sprint swimmer Dane Van Arkel said he is looking forward to his senior season.
“I just want to go out with a bang. I want to be able to look back and know my four years has been worthwhile,” Van Arkel said.
Van Arkel said the team will be ready for the first meet this weekend.
“I feel like we have been working really hard,” Van Arkel said. “This year we started off hard and this is the best start to a season we’ll them.”
After over two months of practices, Hoffman said the Coyotes are ready to intensify their workouts.
“We’re ready to start doing harder sets,” Hoffman said. “Now is the time when we start working harder and fine tuning the areas that we need to work on. It’s a long season so we need to stay.”