Making Waves: Women’s swimming team ready to take on 2019-2020 season

The Augustana women’s swimming team is primed for success both in the water and the classroom.

Last season, the Viking women took home the gold medal in the 800-yard freestyle at the NSIC Championships, with a school-record finish of 7:37:99. This year, the team returns to the water for its fourth and most intimidating season yet.

According to head coach Lindsie Micko, the team has grown in size from last year.

“This year, we finally have a full, four classes of swimmers,” Micko said. “This not only helps with experience, but also with depth in all strokes and distances.”

Last season’s competitiveness earned Augustana’s swim team a fourth-place finish at the NSIC Championships, where the team beat out Northern State, who placed seventh, and the University of Mary, who finished fifth.

Junior Taylor Beagle said she remains determined this season and looks forward to the advantages this year’s team brings to the pool.

“I especially think that we are excited to be so big this year,” Beagle said. “We had 19 girls at the beginning of last year, and now we have 27.”

Every swimmer from last season is returning to the team and its aspirations to improve remain unchanged.

“I don’t think our focus has changed,” Micko said. “We want to continue to get better as a team and be more competitive both in the classroom and in the pool.”

At last year’s championships, the Vikings earned 34 top-10 finishes. Beagle qualified for the NCAA championships for the second-straight season, earning All-American status along the way.

Beagle said that the team is looking to build upon last year’s accomplishments.

“We all just kinda want to build off the momentum we had last year and keep pushing past any mental blocks we had about being a new, small team and really show people what we can do,” she said. “Overall, I think we are looking to improve at conference and qualify some people to go to Ohio this year.”

Last weekend, the Viking women swam away with a 2-1 win over Northern State and the University of Mary to open their season. Beagle—this year’s Preseason Player of the Year—took first place for the Vikings in the 1650-yard freestyle, with a time of 17:53.29, while freshman swimmer Hannah Lambert finished third for the team with a time of 18:27:12. 

In this first official test for the team, Beagle also recorded a strong first-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle, while junior Kelsey Gilbert and senior Emma Miller swam to first and second place finishes in the 1000-yard freestyle, respectively. Senior Destini Oehlertz, who holds school records in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle, finished second in the season-opening 200-yard freestyle event, with a time of 1:57:41.

Facing a tough academic schedule and vigorous training, the team is bracing for the challenges that the fall season will bring.

“This is one of the hardest parts of the season, as far as staying on top of things outside the pool,” Beagle said. “We have a meet every weekend, if not two, and practice can be mentally draining after a week of doubles, lifting, class, etc.”

Following the decisive victories over Northern State and the University of Mary over the weekend, Micko is proud of how the team persevered last season and looks ahead toward the challenges this year will bring.

“I’m very proud of our team. Last year we had our best academic year as well as our best performance year. The girls have done a great job of supporting each other and the other teams on campus.”

On Friday, Oct. 11, the team will travel to Aberdeen, South Dakota for a 5 p.m. face-off against Northern State, before heading on a long trip south to Omaha, Nebraska, where the Vikings will be participating in the Midwestern Shootout on Saturday, Oct. 12. The event is set to start at 10 a.m.

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