With a brand new collegiate program comes a first-time head coach.
Lindsie Micko will lead the Augustana swimming program in its first season as a varsity sport, and it’ll be the longtime club coach’s first chance to show what she can do in a collegiate program.
“I’m having a blast so far,” Micko said. “I’m just excited to get back on the block and do what I do.”
Micko was born in Brookings, S.D. She set out on her swimming path at a young age.
“I started swimming when I was in middle school,” Micko said. “My mom told me when I was younger that I either had to join the swim team or take swimming lessons again. After joining the team, I fell in love with the sport.”
South Dakota didn’t have high school swimming (and still doesn’t), so Micko joined a club team. Eventually, her success grabbed the attention of a coach at South Dakota State, and she ended up being a three-year letterwinner for her hometown Jackrabbits.
Micko said the adjustment from club to college isn’t easy. The two sports are different. She understands her athletes must learn to make the same adjustments.
“The college scene was definitely different than my club team,” Micko said. “Balancing school, a sport and a social life is something that not only the girls I’m coaching this year will have to figure out, but all college student-athletes.”
After graduating in 1998, she Micko got her first coaching job as the coach of the Sioux Falls Swim Team.
She coached there from 1999-2001, at which point she became a Division I assistant coach at the University of New Mexico.
She later returned to coaching the Sioux Falls Swim Team before being hired by a club based in Houston, coaching younger athletes than at Augustana.
“It was definitely a younger crowd than I have now,” Micko said. “Coaching ages anywhere from 11 to 18 obviously comes with a different approach than coaching college swimmers. At that age, it’s more of a developmental group, but it’s still competitive.”
Augustana hired Micko last winter. From Brookings, to Houston, to Sioux Falls, the round trip was complete.
“Obviously I was excited to take the job,” Micko said. “I’ve faced challenges like this in the past so this was just another opportunity for me to prove myself.”
But this challenge that she faces might be the biggest one yet. Not only does she inherit a team at the collegiate level, she is coaching a roster where 15 of the 17 swimmers are freshmen.
“Undoubtedly there were concerns coaching almost a whole team of freshman girls,” Micko said. “But the girls have molded together nicely so far. They’re finding ways to be competitive, but also they’re getting really close as a team.”
Having a roster filled with a majority of freshman isn’t stopping Micko from maintaining a winning mindset which is rubbing off on her athletes.
“She is a great coach who treats her players well, but also knows when to really push us,” freshman Linzie Kreizel said. “She let us know right away that we are here to win.”
Kreizel isn’t the only swimmer who holds Micko in high regards.
“She’s one of the better coaches I’ve had so far (in my swimming career),” freshman Julia Robberstad said. “She really understands what pushes us to get the best out of our personal races.”
Micko’s Vikings have their first meet Oct. 7 at Northern State University.