Swimming and diving finishes off strong in Rochester

    Competing among Division II and Division I teams, the Blugolds placed in the top ten overall

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    The swimming and diving team competed over the weekend in Rochester with three days of events. This was one of their first meets with preliminaries and finals, giving them more experience with a higher level of competition.

    The UW-Eau Claire men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams finished off a competitive weekend in Rochester with fourth and seventh place team titles, respectively.

    The University of South Dakota won the meet across the board with 1889 points in the women’s division and 2088.5 points in the men’s division.

    St. Cloud State University has hosted the meet for more than four years.

    Annie Ryder, head coach of the Blugold team, said Eau Claire has competed at the Rochester meet for the past four years. She said mostly the same teams come each year, including a variety of Division I, II and III schools. From Wisconsin, only UW-La Crosse and Eau Claire competed.

    “It’s good for us to swim against Division II and Division I teams,” Ryder said. “I think that we swim really competitive among those teams — it’s a good thing, it helps us prepare for conference, it helps us prepare for NCAA’s, and so we are able to see some fast splits at the Division II and Division I level at this meet and to remain competitive with them. I’m really proud of them for that.”

    This was the team’s first tapered meet of the season, Ryder said, and the swimmers wore tech suits to help keep their bodies buoyant in the water and decrease fatigue. She

    said the suits also play a role in team’s mindset for competing.

    The Blugolds left the water with handful of standout performances. In the men’s 400-yard freestyle relay, the team of Andrew Shane, a sophomore, Andrew Strauch, a junior, Konrad Plomedahl, a senior captain, and Dayton Miller, also a senior, placed 12th with a time of 3:15.97.

    On the women’s side, several competitors placed in the top 24. Sari Mailey, a senior, came in 20th for the Blugolds in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:19.53. Jessica Short, a junior,  finished with a seventh place overall finish in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.58. Short also competed in the 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard Individual Medley (IM) and 100-yard backstroke. Short finished the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.80 in eighth place. In the 200-yard IM, she finished fourth with a time of 2:09.14. Finally, in the 100-yard backstroke, she finished seventh with a time of 58.44.

    “I did a lot better than I did last year, and I was able to make all my events in the top eight, so that was definitely a goal of mine and score points for the team,” Short said.

    On the men’s side, both Collin Miller, a sophomore, and Dayton Miller, a senior, competed strongly in different individual events. Collin Miller finished eighth in the 50-yard freestyle, with a time of 21.35. He also finished sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 58.57. Dayton finished the same race about one second later, at 59.95, in tenth place.

    Tanner Olson also finished admirably in the 500-yard freestyle, with 18th place and a time of 5:04.48. Conner Pendill came right after in 19th place with a time of 5:05.27.

    As a captain, Short said she is pleased with how the team is doing, because they are about halfway through the season. She also said the team dynamic is very fun and supportive during big competitions like Rochester.

    Logan Coert, fellow captain and senior on the team, said he is content with the team’s performance and knows only improvement will come.

    “When you’re swimming for other people, I think that’s when you start to swim your best,” Coert said. “As the season goes on, and up until this point, I think we have only been improving and I’m really excited to see where we can go as a team in the future because I think that the only way we can go is up.”

    The Blugolds will compete next on Jan. 19 and 20 in Stevens Point.