The Minnesota State swim and dive team capped off a wonderful season, finishing 13th in the National Championship Invite this past weekend. It was the highest finish for MSU under Head Coach Nathan Owens.
“I’ve had some pretty good seasons, but it’s been a while since our team has been this talented. Our best overall women’s team finish prior to this year was in 2009 when we finished 15th overall. This team has really raised the bar for the future,” said Owens.
During the four-day event, the Mavericks scored 131 points, the most out of any NSIC team. The Mavs earned four individual and two relay All-American honors (Top 8 finishes). Junior Cecilia Hake finished fourth in the 50-meter freestyle and sixth place in the 100-meter backstroke. Senior Cheyenne Rova ended her illustrious career at MSU with two top-eight finishes in the National Championship, third place in the 50-meter freestyle and fifth place in the 100-meter freestyle.
The 200 and 400-meter relay teams finished third and sixth, respectively. There were a couple All-American honorable mentions for the Mavs as well. Hake finished 14th in the 100-meter freestyle, and the 200-meter medley relay team finished 11th.
While Owens was proud of his players’ accomplishments, he was most impressed that they had done them with the level of competition they had to go against.
“What makes this year gratifying is how much Division-II has improved since then. Top-eight finishes from 2009 wouldn’t even qualify in 2017. The Division-II Championships feature world class swimmers when compared to just a few years ago,” Owens said.
The Mavericks have proved that they can compete with the best. They should celebrate their accomplishments, but not for too long, because it’s going to take a lot of work in the offseason if they want to sustain this level of achievement.
The team only had four seniors this season, so they have high aspirations for the team next season.
“We have a very talented group of juniors that have continued to improve each year,” Owens said. “Kylie Gaeth, Chelsea Calhoon, and Taylor Bass have all made huge contributions to our team’s success this season. Hake will have a key role on the team next year as she looks to earn All-American honors again. It will be fun to see what they do as seniors.”
There is one swimmer that Owens thinks will have a breakout year, in freshman Maggie Knier.
“Maggie has improved throughout the year and is motivated to work hard this off-season and take her swimming to the next level,” said Owens.
Having a potential All-American like Knier along with a strong core of seniors, the Mavericks swim team will be a force to be reckoned with next season.