The Minnesota State University women’s swimming and diving team are halfway through their 2016-2017 campaign. They are currently ranked 21st in the Nation, according to the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Coaches poll. They are 1-1 in dual meets this season, with their most recent victory against Minnesota State Moorhead 186-114 on Nov. 18. They have also competed in two double-duals, where they face two opponents in one match, and have finished first in both meets. The only invite they have competed in was the St. Thomas Invite in St. Paul, Minn., where they finished second behind conference foe St. Cloud State.
Their next event is the Rochester Invite. It is a three-day event held from December 2-4. It will be a major test for the Mavericks, and head coach Nathan Owens says he’s looking forward to the meet.
“We feel good about all the work that we’ve put into the training thus far. Competitions are more fun for the athletes when they’re rested. They’ll be very well rested for the Rochester Invite after a long Thanksgiving weekend,” Owens said. “We’re hoping for a great meet with a number of top-16 and top-8 finishes.”
Now, time for a look at a couple returning impact members of the team. Senior sprint freestyler, Cheyenne Rova has had an outstanding season so far this year. Last season’s team MVP owns two school records: the 50-meter freestyle (23.43 seconds), which won her the conference championship, and the 100-meter freestyle (51.28 seconds). According to Owens, Rova has been posting the fastest times in the conference.
Junior Chelsea Calhoon is another key swimmer that Owens mentioned. Last season, she placed third at the New South Intercollegiate Swim Conference (NSISC) Championships in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:01.56, which is also a school record for Calhoon. She was also a member of the 400-meter freestyle relay team that finished 15th in the NCAA Championships.
“[Calhoon] can do nearly any event. [She] has been on fire this fall. She’s won a ton of big races in every meet,” said Owens.
There have been a few surprise swimmers and divers this season for the Mavericks. Per Owens, freshman Maggie Knier has been outstanding this season.
“She’s posted a few lifetime best times and has been even better in training,” said Owens. “She’s on track to have a great mid-season meet in Rochester this coming weekend.”
The Maverick diving team is very young this year. Three freshman divers in Jaycie Klein, Krista Kovar, and Lauren Hake, are competing this year. Owens says that all three of them have made big contributions to their team’s success this year. In fact, Klein just posted a national-qualifying score on the 1-meter dive with a score of 392.20 in the dual against Moorhead. “They’re going to be a fun group to watch over the next several years,” said Owens.
The team still has a few major competitions left this season, but when asked where the team will stand come championship time, Owens certainly did not count out his team.
“Because of their team depth in almost every event, St. Cloud is going to be very tough to beat at our Conference Championship in February,” Owens said. “That said, our team will be very competitive with them and I’m confident that we can beat them at the NCAA Championships in March. Our team may not have the same amount of depth, but what we lack in depth we make up for in talent. It will be fun to see what we can do at the end of the season.”
Minnesota State’s next event will take place December 2-4, at the Rochester Invite. They will then travel to Honolulu, Hawaii for their winter break training trip to resume action after the break.