The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Swim and dive team places second at Rochester meet

The Blugolds compete across three days of competition
This meet finished out the 2023 schedule for the team. (Photo by Shane Opatz, used with permission from Blugold Athletics)

The UW-Eau Claire men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams made a splash at the Rochester invite this past week. 

Competing against a mix of Division I, II and III schools, the Blugolds finished in second place with 1558 points, 200 points behind the meet’s winner, St. Cloud State University

First-year sprinter Evan Bushko said the team’s energy kept them at the top of their game throughout the meet despite the long schedule. 

“When your energy begins to fail, you always have the team to fall back on, knowing that you’re not just swimming for yourself but for (your team),” Bushko said. “That thought is what fuels you, and everyone else’s energy becomes your energy.”

Story continues below advertisement

The women’s team came out of the meet with three event winners on Saturday. 

Molly Hosack won the 1,650-yard freestyle, Ella Weaver finished in first place in the 200-yard breaststroke and Elaina Plonis was on top in the 200-yard butterfly. 

Along with these winners, the Blugolds had several other swimmers finish in the top eight in their respective events

Amanda Hyland, a first-year long-distance swimmer, was involved in multiple events for the team, with her highest finish being 11th place in the 400-yard individual medley. 

Hyland said that her preparation in practice prepares her for the long swims during meets. 

“When swimming long races I really rely on my training,” she said. “During the race, I focus on having an upbeat song in my head and try not to think about how much I have left to swim.”

On the men’s side, they also had a pair of event winners.

Kadin Denner took home the crown in the 1,650-yard freestyle while Sam Ryf was victorious in the 200-yard butterfly.

Additionally, the men had multiple other swimmers finishing in the top eight of their events, including multiple runner-up finishes. 

Denner also continued his dominant season with a first-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle, finishing two seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. 

Bushko competed in multiple events for the team but said that relays are his favorite event to swim in. 

“It feels like the entire team is behind you when you step on those blocks,” he said. “Individual races are fun, but nothing will ever beat the rush of slamming your hand into the wall and seeing your teammate fly over your head to chase down the rest of the heat.”

Hyland said this has been one of her favorite meets and has enjoyed getting to grow closer with the team across multiple days of competition. 

“At the Rochester meet, I got to talk more with teammates and feel more bonded,” Hyland said.”We ate meals as a team and it was a great time. Also, a great part of the meet was when we did our cheer (because) it gets us pumped up and ready to swim.”

This meet was the final one of the calendar year for the Blugolds with their next dual not happening until after winter break. 

They’ll be back at home to compete against conference foe UW-Whitewater on Jan. 27.


Hokanson can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *