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The Summit League Swimming & Diving Breakdown

One of my favorite sports to have a conversation about is swimming and diving. There are so many different layers to swimming, with the different strokes, distances, and then you throw diving into the mix, which is an entirely different animal in itself.

Collegiate competition season falls during basketball season, and is often times overlooked. But everyone you come across is an “expert” every four years for two weeks. (Yes, I’m talking about the Olympics.) In my opinion, these two sports deserve recognition during the other 206 weeks.

As requested by a viewer, here is your full breakdown of The Summit League swimming and diving, which I couldn’t be happier to bring to you. To the new fans that don’t know as much about these two sports, I hope by the end of the article, you’re able to school your friends during those coveted two weeks.

 

A Little Vocab

Taper — A decrease in yardage, practices and decline in weights over a period of time before a big meet, to let a swimmer’s muscles rest. This is essential for optimal performance.

NCAA A cut, B cut — A qualifying time for the NCAA Division I Championships. An A cut is an automatic time to go to the meet. (Usually only a handful of swimmers nationally make this time.) The B cut puts a swimmer in line for an at-large bid to the meet, and the fastest B cut times receive an invite.

NCAA Zones — Divers only. You must dive a certain score to qualify for zones. There are five zones across the country that allow divers to qualify for NCAA championships. The number of divers that make the championship meet from each zone are determined by the number of athletes in that zone that placed in the top 16 the year before.

Degree of Difficulty (DD) of a dive — Diving is scored somewhat like Olympic gymnastics. You have the degree of difficulty that looks at the elements of a dive: approach of a dive (front, back, inward, reverse, armstand), how many somersaults, number of twists, and what board the dive is performed on (1-meter, 3-meter, towers.) Then you have the execution scores (how well the athlete preformed the dive), take out the highest and lowest score, and multiple it by the DD. Boom. Super simple, right?

 

Ones to Watch

As you go through the list of my top picks for The Summit League finishes, don’t count out the young guns who haven’t gone through a collegiate training and weight program, combined with taper. They could steal top spots. Also, swimmers can only compete in so many races, so the ones that hold one of my top picks may not swim that event.

Swimming

50 Free
  • Men: Cameron Auchinachie, Denver (B-cut)
  • Women: Lauren Moden, Denver
100 Free
  • Men: Cameron Auchinachie, Denver (B-cut)
  • Women: Lauren Moden, Denver
200 Free
  • Men: Cameron Auchinachie, Denver (B-cut)
  • Women: Annelyse Tullier, Denver
500 Free
  • Men: Colin Gilbert, Denver (B-cut)
  • Women: Annelyse Tullier, Denver (B-cut)
1000 Free
  • Men: Colin Gilbert, Denver
  • Women: Andi Johnston, Denver
1650 Free
  • Men: Colin Gilbert, Denver (B-cut)
  • Women: Andi Johnston, Denver
50 Back
  • Men: Neil Wachtler, Denver
  • Women: Annelyse Tullier, Denver
100 Back
  • Men: Neil Wachtler, Denver (B-cut)
  • Women: Heidi Bradley, Denver
200 Back
  • Men: Patrick Groters, Denver (B-cut)
  • Women: Heidi Bradley, Denver
50 Breast
  • Men: Cy Jager, Denver
  • Women: Emily Vandenberg, Denver
100 Breast
  • Men: Cy Jager, Denver
  • Women: Brandi Vu, Denver
200 Breast
  • Men: Adriel Sanes, Denver (B-cut)
  • Women: Charlotte Simon, Denver
50 Fly
  • Men: Trent Panzera, Denver
  • Women: Mckayla Sanchez, Denver
100 Fly
  • Men: Peter Webster, Denver
  • Women: Kylie Cronin, Denver (B-cut)
200 Fly
  • Men: Kyle Ewoldt, Denver
  • Women: Kylie Cronin, Denver (B-cut)
100 IM
  • Men: Adriel Sanes, Denver
  • Women: Heidi Bradley, Denver
200 IM
  • Men: Neil Wachtler, Denver
  • Women: Emily Vandenberg, Denver
400 IM
  • Men: Kyle Ewoldt, Denver
  • Women: Emily Vandenberg, Denver


Diving

* indicates athlete has qualified for NCAA Zones

1 Meter
  • Men: Joesph Weber, South Dakota State*
  • Men: Mitchell Raihle, South Dakota State*
  • Women: Sarah Schank, South Dakota*
  • Women: Annika Clinton, Omaha*
3 Meter
  • Men: Hudson Wilkerson, South Dakota*
  • Men: Joesph Weber, South Dakota State
  • Men: Mitchell Raihle, South Dakota State
  • Women: Sarah Schank, South Dakota*
  • Women: Haley Pederson, South Dakota*

 

The Summit League Championships

The championship meet will be held at the Midco Aquatic Center in Sioux Falls for the second year in a row on February 20-23. In my opinion, this new facility is a great place to hold the meet. Here’s why:

  1. Depth. In deeper pools, the waves you create when you swim, and turbulence you send down to the bottom of the pool with each stroke, takes longer to bounce off the bottom of the pool and come back and hit the surface, where you are swimming.
  2. Gutters. Open gutters allow water to pass through and not hit the wall and bounce back at you, cutting down on waves which makes it easier/faster to swim in.
  3. Multiple boards. Championship pools have multiple boards — which is a must with a conferences’ worth of athletes there — but it’s nice change for most of The Summit League team’s pools that just have one.
  4. Central location. It’s close to two of the schools in The Summit League, which is convenient for those fans. But let’s be honest: swim parents are well traveled, and are happy to drive hours upon hours for a 20+ second race. For that, we thank you.

 

Why It Matters

This meet holds so much weight because:

  • you are tapered
  • have built up endurance for the distance races
  • have worked on fast-twitch muscle reactions for sprint events
  • have been adding on new dives to the list all year
  • and it comes down to ONE CHANCE

Also, I can’t forget to mention that more than half of these “chances” are over in a matter of seconds. (With the exclusion of the mile, but that’s a whole other story.) If you mess up your start or finish (swimmer) or approach or entry (diver), then that’s it. No next possessions, no buzzer beaters.

Those lucky enough to make it to NCAAs get another swim, but for the large majority, the conference meet is the one opportunity to get the time (swimmer) or score (diver) needed to qualify. Your body won’t be tapered and in the same shape until this time next year. That’s why this meet is so important, individually and as a team.

The big swim family and I live for this time of year, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what times are posted come late February. For my new swim fans, when you see the results come across your twitter feed, I hope they hold more meaning to you than they might have before.

Filed Under College | South Dakota State University | University of South Dakota