Swim team makes waves at the end of inaugural season

Swim team practice

Swim earns fifth out of seven teams after first varsity season


Ariana Birondo


Two years ago, Augustana University announced women’s swimming would be added as its 19th varsity sport.

Last week swimming concluded their inaugural season, placing fifth out of seven teams in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Swimming and Diving Championship.

The team scored a combined 368 points, finishing ahead of two other rookie teams, USF and University of Mary.

Freshman Emma Miller was named the NSIC’s Freshman of the Year after winning both the 1,000-yard freestyle and the 1,650-yard freestyle at the conference championship meet.

“I was absolutely stunned, and all of the Augie girls started screaming and cheering,” Miller said. “But it feels fantastic to know putting in so much work over the season and have it pay off was really wonderful.”

At the beginning of the year, the athletes didn’t have many goals or expectations for themselves. Coming in to a freshly formed program, they knew there would be some bumps ahead.

“We knew what [each] other’s goals were, and we were supporting each other with that,” Miller said. “Really, the only goal we had was just that we wanted each other to have a really great time coming into this.”

Coach Lindsie Micko didn’t know what to expect either but hoped for the best in the pool and the classroom.

“I try to not put expectations on the swimmers,” Micko said. “I wanted them to bond as a team, work hard and represent Augustana well both in the classroom as well as the pool. I knew we had some talented young ladies, but you never know how the first year in a program will go.”

Emma MillerAssistant Athletic Director Ann Traphagen said there were three main areas that the school considered when originally evaluating sports to add to the varsity roster: whether or not the sport is established in the NCAA, proximity of viable competition and academic profile of a prospective sport’s student-athletes. When they found swimming, it “seemed like a no-brainer” and after this season, that statement has stood true.

“Well they achieved pretty greatly,” Traphagen said. “I told coach after the conference tournament that I called them the ‘Rookies of the Year’ team because there were two other rookie teams in our conference that we ended up beating. That was kind of a nice feather in our cap to say: Of all the newbies we were the best of the new teams, and then out of all of the freshmen, one of ours got Freshman of the Year.”

Traphagen singled out Micko for doing a “phenomenal job”.

“Well I really want to credit Coach Micko,because she was here for a full year without any swimmers or any team,” Traphagen said. “That’s probably pretty hard for a coach to [have] a vision without being in the pool, so her patience,

building [of the team], knowing her philosophy and integrating

Augustana in the best way, this season was really a credit to her. I think she’s done a phenomenal job starting to build this program.”

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