South Dakota women’s team ties all-time best

South Dakota women's team ties all-time best
The South Dakota women's swimming and diving team finished eighth in the team competition – tying its' all-time best finish – at the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships which concluded March 11 at the University of Indiana Natatorium.

The eighth-place team finish by the Coyote women's team ties the performance of the 1999 squad. The Coyote men's team was 26th with 6.5 points.

Overall, the USD swimming and diving team had seven All-American performances at nationals, including four individual honors. A total of 10 women's swimmers earned All-American honors, either on a relay or as an individual.

They included Megan Gordon (three), Grand Rapids, MN; Leita Rolfe (two), Newcastle, WY; Mary Klima, Leavenworth, KS; Brianna Wass, Douglas WY; Erin Wagoner (two), Newcastle, WY; Stacy Bjorlie (four), Austin, MN; Brae Olson, Hutchinson, MN; Jill Smolczyk, Omaha, NE; Jenny Kohlbrand, Newcastle, WY.

Three of the five Coyote women's relays earned All-American honors, including the 200-yard medley relay, sixth; 400-yard medley, sixth; and 200-yard freestyle, eighth. In addition USD had two relays earn honorable mention honors, including the 400 freestyle, 10th; and the 800 freestyle, 12th.

The individuals earning All-American honors included Bjorlie, eighth, 50-yard freestyle; Smolczyk, 1-M diving; Gordon, 200-yard backstroke; and Wagoner, 100-yard freestyle, seventh. In addition, USD had seven individual honorable mention All-American honors. For the men's team, senior John Murman of the Coyote men's team was 10th in the 50-yard freestyle.

"We are very happy with our performance at nationals," said first-year head coach Jason Mahowald. "I think the results speak for themselves. We got better as the meet continued this week. We broke three school records and moved from 16th to eighth (in the team standings) in one year at nationals," Mahowald said. "This is a relatively young squad which bodes well for the future. It was a great experience for everyone, including freshmen and sophomores, who got a taste of what it was like to be nationals," he said.

On Saturday, USD had one All-American performance as Gordon finished with her third All-American honor at nationals by capturing eighth-place in the 200-yard backstroke with a clocking of 2:07.41. Gordon, who owns the school record in the event with a 2:06.82 in 2005, recorded the second-fastest 200-yard backstroke time in school history.

The Coyote women's 400-yard freestyle relay earned honorable mention All-American honors with a 10th-place finish in 3:34.32 on Saturday. The team included Wass, Klima, Wagoner and Bjorlie.

Bjorlie and Wass had honorable mention All-American performances in the 100-yard freestyle. Bjorlie, who finished her first nationals with four All-American and three honorable mention All-American honors, was 15th in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.17, which ranks fourth all-time at USD. Wass had a time of 53.22, which ranks sixth all-time at USD.

Also for the Coyotes, Rolfe was 18th in the 200 breaststroke with a clocking of 2:27.43, a time which ranks sixth-best all-time at USD. Rolfe did not advance to the finals in the event.

For the men's team, John Murman, a senior from Lincoln, NE, was 18th in the 100 freestyle with a clocking of 46.17 but did not advance to finals. Murman's time is the 10th-best time in school history.

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