Swimming program aims to put rest of NSIC on notice
Augustana will introduce a new varsity sport to its fan base this fall for the first time in more than a decade.
The school announced women’s swimming as its 19th varsity sport in April 2015, and the team will begin competition with an intrasquad scrimmage Friday afternoon at the Elmen Center.
It’s the first sport Augustana has added since women’s soccer began play in 2000.
As is usual for a new program, the Vikings’ roster is dominated by freshmen. Fifteen of the 17 swimmers on the team are freshmen. The other two—Julie DeWitt and Emily Boysen—are sophomores.
“It’s definitely a situation I’ve never experienced before,” head coach Lindsie Micko said of her young team. “They’re finding ways to stay competitive (with each other) for positioning (on the team) but also remaining close as a unit.”
The Vikings have high expectations for themselves despite their youth.
“My goal for this team isn’t to just go out there and have fun,” Micko said. “I want to be competitive in every meet and show the rest of the NSIC what Augustana swimming is about.”
Micko’s mentality has trickled down to the athletes.
“I think a lot of teams will question our experience at the college level,” freshman Julia Robberstad said. “We just have to go out and perform like we know how to.”
The Vikings will get their first chance to do so next Friday in Aberdeen when they face Northern State and the University of Mary.
It’s clear that the focus among the athletes is on being competitive and winning as many meets as possible—the inaugural season won’t be used to just get comfortable among the competition.
Micko said Augustana athletics have a culture of success, and she wants her team to be a part of that.
“I know there are plenty of successful teams here at this school,” Micko said. “We would like to join the club. We are going to take it one meet at a time and make sure that we go out there and send the message that we are here to stay.”
Few of the swimmers were strangers on Day 1 of camp.
“A lot of us have been swimming with or against each other for a long time,” said freshman Linzie Kreizel. “I’ve known some of the girls on the team before we got to Augustana, and I know some of the swimmers we will be competing against. It doesn’t change the fact that we want to go out there, be competitive and win.”