After dominating almost the entire season, it is no surprise that Minnesota State’s Swimming and Diving team showed up at last week’s NSIC Championship meet.
Throughout the four-day event, MSU compiled a total of 969 points, placing second overall. The Mavericks came in behind Augustana University, who had 979.5 points, while St. Cloud State followed the Mavs with 793 points.
“The team title came down to the very last event so it was a very exciting four-day meet. We were projected to come in 2nd place by almost 200-300 points before the meet started. Coming in 2nd by only 10 points was amazing and I think that we all were extremely happy with how we performed as a team and how we came together to try to chase down our competition,” said senior swimmer, Nicole Beckman.
The Mavericks came into the championships hot on day one, tallying 212 points, placing them in second from the jump. Day one was also the team’s first gold medal of the meet, in the 200 medley relay.
The foursome of freshman Megan Schultz, sophomore Abby Gronholz, junior Elise Mishmash and senior Nicole Beckman made it to the top of the podium with a final time of 1:43.47. The four girls were joined by three other Mavericks that day, earning All-NSIC honors for placing in the top three of their respective events.
“Being on top of the podium is the greatest feeling especially with a relay when you do it with your teammates,” said Beckman. “The energy in the facility was unmatched and celebrating with the rest of our team on the side was something that I’ll remember forever.”
Day two was not much different for MSU as the team still sat in second, now with 459 points, and piled on four more All-NSIC honors. Most notably, Beckman and Mishmash both led the team with three honors each.
On the third day of competition, the Mavs finally saw their first win in a singles event. This was thanks to Gronholz’s performance in the 100 backstroke event, putting up a provisional qualifying time of 54.05. MSU’s point total moved up to 639 points, still remaining behind Augustana with 684.
Gronholz proved to be on a roll during the championships, winning her second individual event and third event overall on the final day. By the end of the four-day meet, the Mavericks saw 12 members of their team earning All-NSIC Honors.
The Mavericks had hopes of placing first at the NSIC Championships, though realized second place is nothing to overlook.
“Immediately after we found out that we finished 2nd, we were a little down but with time we realized we all did our best and overachieved by making it such a close meet,” said Beckman.
Next up for MSU Swimming and Diving is the NCAA Championships, beginning March 8 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gronholz is one of the few who will be featured at Nationals. However, a number of swimmers who didn’t qualify are headed to Sioux Falls, South Dakota Saturday for one last chance to qualify.
Write to Ali Reed at Alicia.Reed@mnsu.edu