As a freshman, Jake Leichner played a vital role in the second place Summit League Coyote men’s’ swimming team, but his role with the team is starting to grow as an upperclassman.
Leichner earned an all-Summit honor for four events last season, including a second-place finish in the 100 individual medley. He also swam on two relays finishing third and the 800 free relay bringing home first place. The relay team snapped a 79 event winning streak for Denver.
Leichner held three school records after his freshman season in the 100 individual medley, 200 individual medley and the 400 medley relay team. His 100 individual medley record came at the CSCAA Championship last spring, where he finished sixth.
“I think it always comes with my wanting to improve the team and just improve on my times,” Leichner said. “I’ve only got so many years left of swimming. I’m just trying to get the most out of it and trying to try and improve.”
Leichner is a business major from Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
In his sophomore campaign, Leichner lowered his record in the 100 individual medley at the Augie Invite this fall. In the same meet, Leichner anchored a 400 free relay team that lowered the school record.
In a dual with South Dakota State, Leichner won three events to lead the men’s team.
Leichner was awarded his first Summit League male swimmer of the week award in February for his performance in the dual against SDSU.
Leichner’s accolades as a sophomore have come from the hard work he always puts in, head swimming coach Jason Mahowald said.
“He’s a workhorse,” Mahowald said. “My assistant coaches and I say all the time that we have a hard time breaking the kid down because he just works so hard. Those records and his performance are all products of the work that he puts in, day in and day out, in the pool and the weight room.”
Leichner said he considers himself team orientated. All of his goals are about improving the team and his times, Leichner said. Coming into the season, Leichner said he wanted to help the team continue to improve.
“My goals coming into this year were just to help my team get to places they’ve never been before,” Leichner said. “So far we’ve been going there. We’ve been places that we’ve never experienced. We’ve probably been the best we ever have been.”
As Leichner approaches the halfway point in his career, his plans for the rest of his time at USD are also about the team and how he can be a leader.
“Some goals I have are obviously improving among my times, but also get within more of a leadership role,” Leichner said. “So not only dropping times but also becoming more of a leader.”
Leichner and the Coyote men and women’s swimming and diving teams take on the Summit League in the swimming and diving championships in Sioux Falls Feb. 19-22.