USD swim and dive team compete at two national meets
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USD swim and dive team compete at two national meets

The Coyote swim and dive team competed at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships March 11 and 12, and the CSCAA National Invitational March 14-16.

The USD diving team had seven athletes compete at the Zone Diving Championships, held at Jamail Swimming Center in Austin, Texas. Freshman Hudson Wilkerson finished one spot shy of advancing to the finals of the one-meter competition, totaling 280.45 points for 19th place. Wilkerson also placed 27th in the three-meter event. Junior Isaac Morris scored 272.35 and finished 22nd in the one-meter competition.

Sophomore Haley Pederson and senior Sarah Schank finished 37th and 47th in the women’s three-meter event, with 256.75 and 272.35 points respectively. They also competed in the one-meter event, with Schank placing 43rd with 216.3 points and Pederson finishing in 48th with 200.15.

The Coyote swim team followed up that performance at the CSCAA National Invitational at Busbey Natatorium in Cleveland, Ohio. The event hosted 59 schools in total.

The men’s squad finished in 14th place with 160 points, scoring points in all five relays they participated in. The team as a whole was able to set three school records as well. Freshman Jake Leichner scored in two individual events on the final competition day, placing sixth in the 100-meter and improving his school record to 50.67, as well as finishing 13th in the 200 breaststroke in 2:01.14, which ranks second in school history.

“Usually going into meets I don’t set goals for myself,” said Leichner. “I really just say ‘I’m gonna go out there and just swim as hard as I can and see what I really can do.”

Freshman Jacob Won set the USD record for the 1000 free with a time of 9:34.96. Isabel Fairbanks would set the final record for the Yotes by clocking 58.63 in the prelims of the 100-meter.

“I was surprisingly not that nervous going into the meet,” said Fairbanks. “We had just prepared for a big meet, so I kind of new what to expect. I just felt pretty excited and confident and not really that nervous at all.”

The men were able to capture points in several relays. The freshman quartet of Javi Quinones, Brady Torborg, Leichner, and Charlie Bean placed eleventh in the 200 free relay in 1:22.36, while a second group of freshman in Torborg, Caden DeLay, Won, and Leichner took 12th in the 400 medley relay in 3:21.79 on the event’s first day.

This was followed by Torborg, Leichner, Quinones, and Bean clocking 1:31.83 in the 200 medley to place 17th, the group of Bean, Won, sophomore Elbert Chuang, and freshman Griffin Wolner finishing 14th in the 800 free in 6:53.06, and the squad of Quinones, Leichner, Chuang, and Bean placing 14th in the 400 free in 3:03.71.

Chuang improved on his PR in the 100 IM, clocking at 51.98 and finishing 18th. He also PRed in the 100 breastroke at 56.15, moving him up to fourth in school history. Won swam 4:03.17 in the finals of the 400 IM, placing him 19th. Quinones also finished 19th in the 100 breaststroke, clocking 56.64.

Performances like the ones this weekend are especially satisfying for Coach Mahowald to see, especially when looking toward the future.

“This is a group that has kids that can potentially qualify for NCAAs,” said Mahowald. “With the success of other teams here like the track and women’s basketball teams, it’s becoming a realization to these kids that USD is a great school and we’re at that level and that’s what we’re shooting for.”