Blugolds place at WIAC Championships last week and head to NCAA Championships

UW-Eau Claire swimming and diving team compete in four-day competition

Cade Fisher

More stories from Cade Fisher



The Blugolds have competed in 18 days of meets this season and only have the NCAA’s to go.

The UW-Eau Claire swimming and diving team competed in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, or WIAC, Championships Feb. 15-18 at the Schroeder Aquatic Center in Brown Deer, Wisconsin. 

According to the final results page, both the women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams placed first in numerous races over the four-day competition.

Sydney McCollor, Grace Schnabi, Molly Hosack and Paige Pelikan won first place In the women’s 800-yard freestyle relay, and Sam Ryf, Alex Jorgenson, Evan Schroeder and Ben Keller won first place in the men’s 800-yard freestyle relay.

UW-Eau Claire ranked first through fifth in the women’s 500-yard freestyle thanks to McCollor, Pelikan, Hosack, Elaine Proefrock and Grace Piddle in that order. Kadin Denner ranked first in the men’s 500-yard freestyle.

Katy Volz, a fourth-year biology student, said she was proud to be a part of the Blugolds and has tried to make the most out of every day in her last swim season.

“For those who are not a part of the swimming community, they don’t understand just how much work we put in, and really just how special this sport is and how close you really do become with your teammates and your coaches,” Volz said.

Keller placed first in the men’s 200-yard individual medley, or IM. Sydney McGuine, Ella Weaver, Kiara Bissen and Pelikan ranked first in the women’s 400-yard medley relay.

Ryf, Ian Olson, Keller and Jorgenson ranked first in the men’s 400-yard medley race and Denner and Keller placed first and second respectively in the men’s 400 yard IM.

In the 18th event of the meet, Schroeder ranked first in the men’s 200-yard freestyle. Weaver, Bissen and Molly Sheehan placed first through third respectively in the women’s 100-yard freestyle.

McGuine placed first in the women’s 100-yard backstroke and Ryf placed first in the men’s 100-yard backstroke.

Quincy Kabe, a third-year accounting and finance student, said that the swim team teaches a lot about community and time management which shows in schooling and careers because of the team’s mindset of putting academics first.

“Our team and our coaches do a really good job of allowing us to put academics first,” Kabe said. “We’re a student-athlete, not an athlete student.”

Event 23 brought the meet back to relays, and McGuine, Sheehan, McCollor and Bissen ranked first in the women’s 200-yard freestyle relay. 

Later on in the meet, McGuine, Hosack, Pelikan and Proefrock ranked first through fourth respectively in the women’s 1650-yard freestyle. Denner and Keller ranked first and second respectively in the men’s 1650-yard freestyle.

On page 41 of the final results page, Weaver and Bissen won first and second respectively in women’s 200-yard breaststroke. Olsen and Jack Poppitz won first and second respectively in the men’s 200-yard breaststroke.

Elaine Plonis placed first in the women’s 200-yard butterfly and Ryf placed first in the men’s 200-yard butterfly. 

According to the finals results page, the diving portion of the meet included Martin Kocher and Kabe, who ranked first and second in the men’s three-meter diving. 

Ben Koller, Kocher and Kabe ranked first through third in the men’s one-meter diving. Sarah Dahlke then placed first in the women’s three-meter diving.

After four days of competing, the points were all added up. According to the team scores page on the UW-Eau Claire athletics website, the women’s swimming and diving team ranked first overall with 901 points. This score was 18 points ahead of the second-place team.

The men’s team ranked second overall for the meet with a score of 853, following UW-Stevens Point at 907. UW-Eau Claire won the entire event with 1,754 points, 185 points ahead of the second-place overall team.

According to the Blugolds athletics page, this is the women’s first WIAC championship since 1999 and their 20 conference title in the team’s history.

After the meet, Denner was named the swimmer of the meet and Kocher was named diver of the meet. Volz was named the Judy Kruckman Scholar-Athlete and Kabe was named the Max Sparger Scholar-Athlete.  

The Blugolds will continue their season at the NCAA diving zones on Wed, Feb. 22-25 and then continue onto the NCAA Championships March 15-18. 

Fans can follow the Blugolds on the Blugolds Game Day website.

Fisher can be reached at [email protected].