BY MADALYN LASKE
Spanning over half of the year, swimming and diving claims one of the longest athletic seasons. Midway through this year’s season, the MSUM swimming and diving team finds themselves with a winning record and a hopeful future.
“We have a great group of returning swimmers and divers, and that’s what’s really the key to our success right now,” head coach Todd Peters said. “A lot of upper class are swimming and diving really well, and that is helping us out a lot.”
Senior Megan Rieland is one of those upperclassmen. The freestyle sprinter and butterflier has continued to improve her performance in and out of the water each week for the Dragons.
This season Rieland has been consistently part of 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams who have clocked winning times. She also has notched a 50 freestyle victory with a time of 25.38, which won her the event by .05 seconds.
“She’s been really great in the water, and also as a leader, especially in the weight room. People really look up to her,” Peters said. “A lot of people want to work out like her, and be like her.”
Mirroring Rieland, junior Megan Sanford has helped the Dragons this season with long distance races. Sanford swam the 1,000 freestyle with a season-best time of 11:19.16 at the College of St. Benedict meet.
“She’s really been swimming well and doing a great job too,” said Peters, who formerly swam at NDSU.
Leading the Dragons on the diving board is Kelsey Jandro, who has been a major factor in MSUM’s success this season.
Most recently, Jandro was named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference diver of the week.
The senior standout scored a lifetime-best score of 428.15, breaking the Concordia College pool record on Nov. 12. This score qualified her for the fourth time in her career for the Division II National pre-qualifying meet.
At the Concordia meet, including Jandro’s record, MSUM broke eight Concordia pool records.
“We decided we were going to try to get as many (records) as we could (at that meet),” Peters said, “They were swimming really fast and diving really well, and it ended up working really well for us.”
The team is currently focused on paving their way to the NSIC conference tournament in February.
“All of our goals kind of leadup to our main goal: to win conference. And I think we’re at a good place right now. We need to beat St. Cloud,” said sophomore Lauren Sullivan. “We have a good line-up and a strong team.”
The team has one home meet all season, the Dragon Invite, that will be in January.
“Mark it off on your calendar. We like supporters,” said freshman free sprinter Maris Jahner.
The Dragons (6-4) head to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire this Friday and Saturday to add another win to their five meet winning streak.
“They’re just a great group of girls, and they work really hard. I can’t say enough great things about them,” Peters said.