Raike makes splash at Augie

First-year+Lauren+Raike+warms+up+in+the+pool+at+the+Carver+Center+in+preparation+for+the+swimming+team%E2%80%99s+meet+at+Carthage+College+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+12.+Photo+by+Ian+Murrin.+

First-year Lauren Raike warms up in the pool at the Carver Center in preparation for the swimming team’s meet at Carthage College on Saturday, Jan. 12. Photo by Ian Murrin.

Sarah Major

Stepping onto the starting block, first-year swimmer Lauren Raike’s hands find the edge of the surface as she prepares to begin her race. With the pop of the starting noise, Raike dives into the water and goes to work.
It’s something she’s done countless times, but the difference now is that Raike is 1,180 miles from her hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Despite being so far from home, Raike has found her place at Augustana as well as immediate success in the pool.
The road to Augustana began at a swim camp near San Antonio. Raike grew up attending the event, and Daniel Lloyd was one of the camp’s coaches.
Once Lloyd became the head coach at Augustana in 2014, he pushed her to visit campus. Raike ultimately chose Augustana over Wheaton College.
“I didn’t really think I was gonna go here, but I [thought I’d] humor him. Then I showed up and I was like, ‘Wow, I really like this place,’” Raike said. “The team was fantastic, the campus was beautiful, and I was like, ‘This is where I’m going to go to college.’”
Competing in various individual events and the 200 medley and freestyle relays, Raike has already set three school records in three different events: the 200 meter breaststroke, the 200 meter individual medley and the 400 meter individual medley.
As of Jan. 12, Raike was ranked 48th in the nation for her time in the 200 Individual Medley and 48th in the 400 IM.
Despite such success so early in her collegiate career, Raike discussed why she chose a Division III school over Division I or II, and why she believes that she made the right choice to compete as a Division III athlete.
“I looked at a couple of my friends who swam DI and swimming controlled their lives. You’re an athlete prior to being a student rather than being a student-athlete. It was definitely that I didn’t want to be owned by the sport,” Raike said.
But it’s not just individual success that helps Raike stand out. Two of Raike’s relay teams, the 200 medley relay and the 200 free relay, are undefeated in dual competition.
Raike’s roommate, first-year Madelynn Marunde, swims breaststroke on Raike’s 200 medley relay team.
She explained what’s made the team so successful as well.
“We always give one hundred percent and know that each race matters and each race is one step closer to conference,” Marunde said.
Raike believes that her two relay teams have a legitimate chance to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships in March. It’s an opportunity that she’s eagerly anticipating.
“Being able to successfully take a group of girls to nationals this year would be a really great experience, especially being our freshman year,” Raike said.
Lloyd believes that what truly sets Raike apart is the way she selflessly interacts with teammates. He discussed how Raike has a tendency to wander around the pool before races to encourage her teammates, explaining how her selfless nature is helping the team.
“She cares more about how her teammates are doing and that propels her to work harder in what she’s doing,” Lloyd said.
“When you’re closer to the people next to you, you fight harder for them and you fight harder for the team,” Lloyd said.
Raike’s teammates explained that while Raike is a great asset to the team in the pool, her positivity has made a much stronger impact on her teammates outside of the pool.
Senior captain Taylor Campbell talked about Raike’s infectious personality.
“Just watching her swim, you are reminded that that’s what you swim for, for those moments of that kind of happiness and positivity that will radiate onto other people,” Campbell said.
Featured Photo: First-year Lauren Raike warms up in the pool at the Carver Center in preparation for the swimming team’s meet at Carthage College on Saturday, Jan. 12. Photo by Ian Murrin.