Augustana’s women’s swimming team has gotten a great start to the 2016-17 season as the team is currently undefeated with a record of 3-0. The team is young with many new freshman, but also have a lot of depth from past swimmers.
The team started off their season with home wins against Knox College and Loras College. This first meet gave all the new swimmers a taste of what collegiate swimming is like, junior captain Kristin Schoenecker said.
“Even before the meet, I felt like we were coming in the season stronger. Everyone seemed like they were in really good shape,” Schoenecker said. “We were pretty confident going into it and the results were about what we expected.”
The team then moved on to compete against Monmouth College and won the meet. This meet was at night, and Schoenecker said this helped the team prepare for what the conference championship will be like, since it is also at night.
The team went straight into a tournament the next morning at Illinois Wesleyan University. They were able to experience swimming while everybody was tired. Even with the little sleep they got, the team placed third out of seven teams at the tournament.
This weekend, the Vikings will compete at a tournament, the Jean Freeman Invitational, at the University of Minnesota on Dec. 2-3. They will swim against not only Division III schools, but also Division I schools. Junior captain Nicole Olsen said that the team isn’t too nervous because they see this as a chance to have new competition and their coach, Dan Lloyd, has been telling the team to be excited.
“Coach Lloyd stresses that it’s just another chance to compete against bigger teams and to not worry as much about placing but (treat it) just a chance to go out and race against people we normally don’t get a chance to race against,” Olsen said.
The majority of the team this year is freshmen, so the captains have many leadership roles to help the freshmen become more familiar with collegiate swimming. Both Olsen and Schoenecker are trying to lead to the team towards success.
“My leadership role has been heightened [as a junior] so there was some pressure in the beginning, but everyone has been supportive of me in my role as a leader,” Schoenecker said. “I like being able to guide the freshman in the direction we want this year to go and make it a positive season.”
Lloyd said the freshmen are learning to adjust quite quickly in the beginning of the season and they continue to work hard and improve scores.
“Across the board, our freshmen have been very impressive. Each person is finding a role in the team,” Lloyd said.
The captains stress the idea of making the team a family. To further improve their team bonding, the team traveled to California during fall break to train and have fun as a team. The team practiced twice a day: early in the morning and during the afternoon. The other time they had together was spent traveling around California, where they went to Disneyland and San Diego, as well as participating in team building activities, such as canoeing and paddle boarding.
“It was a really cool experience for the team to bond and everyone got a lot closer from it,” Olsen said.
The team is looking forward to the rest of the season, Lloyd said. They want to improve throughout the season and be successful at the conference championship at the end of the season.