The 2015 Summit League swimming and diving championships came to a close on Saturday the 22nd at the Indiana University- Purdue University Natatorium. The Omaha women’s swimming and diving team finished the four-day event in fifth place behind Summit League Champion Denver and runner-up South Dakota State with IUPUI and South Dakota ranked below.
The Mavericks held fourth place after the first day and remained in fourth after day two and three, but South Dakota rallied on the final day to surpass Omaha for fourth place. South Dakota posted 408 points, while the Mavericks posted 393.
On Saturday, six seniors took part in their final races for the Mavericks, with only three advancing to the evening finals in their respective events.
First up was senior Lexi Bergeron in the 200 breaststroke. Bergeron clocked a 2:24.76 in the consolation B final to finish twelfth overall, while her 2:24.39 in the morning prelims was the fastest time of her career. Sophomore Jamie Dhabalt competed against Bergeron in the event with her time finishing at a 2:25.95, placing thirteenth overall.
“Lexi has always been my breaststroke competitor,” said Dhabalt, “I wouldn’t want any other competitor but her because she pushed me to my limits throughout the season and I’ll never forget that.”
Senior Morgan Cullison swam the mile and completed the 66 laps in 18:13.86 to place fifteenth overall, while freshman Kaitlin Harthoorn took seventeenth place with a time of 18:33.34.
“It’s definitely going to be hard without Morgan next year since she has always been that person to swim the mile with me,” Harthoorn stated, “Which is by far the worst and most boring event.”
In the 200 butterfly, senior Jenna Foiles scored points with her eleventh place time of 2:10.60, while Cullison clocked a time of 2:15.64 finishing sixteenth overall.
To close out the championships, the Mavericks quartet of Renshaw, Jahn, Johnson and Stepp finished third in the 400 freestyle relay with a new school-record time of 3:28.31 to finish fifth overall in the conference.
Head coach Todd Samland said he couldn’t of asked for a better turn out. Samland was fighting for a fourth place finish, but was content with the final outcome.
“I predicted a fifth place finish,” stated Samland, “That’s exactly what we got and I’m more than okay with that because every one of the girls went out there and raced to their best possible ability and that’s all I can ask of them.”
The Mavericks began their season with sixteen incoming freshman, two of them being divers. Samland said he expected great things since day one when he saw how much potential they had in the water.
“Almost all of the freshman came in thinking they knew their events and what strokes they swam,” explained Samland, “But surely enough that all changes once you reach the collegiate level.”
This has been Samlands eighteenth year coaching for the women’s swim team and he has been the only coach in the history of the Omaha swimming and diving program.
The dive team consists of four divers, junior Miranda Knipfer, sophomore Katherina Frerichs and freshman Monica Houck and Madison Walton. Head coach Adam Lekovich has been the dive coach for three years.
Divers Knipfer and Houck placed third and eighth on the three meter on the first day. Knipfer placed third again in one meter on the second day.
“This was my first year diving at conference,” said Houck, “My goal was to place in three meter and I did and I couldn’t be more happy!”
The Mavericks are satisfied with the season overall and are excited to see what next season has planned for them.