The Trinity swimming and diving teams have just finished up an amazing season. Â Both teams are walking away with a men and womenâ€™s SCAC championship, and five All-American statues or honorable mentions.
The Tigers sent four swimmers to represent at nationals. On the womenâ€™s side, Lindsay Hagmann represented the swimming team well, with a third place finish in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 50.38 seconds. In prelims, Hagmann swam a 50.32, breaking the previous school record. She also swam the 50-yard freestyle, where she got ninth place, swimming a 23.29. Hagmannâ€™s third place finish made her an All-American, her second time in a row to receive the honor in the 100 free. She received honorable mention All-American honors in the 50-yard free.
Junior Sarah Kate Mrkonich represented the womenâ€™s dive team. She received 11th place in the three meter dive, getting an honorable mention All-American status, and then turned around later in the week to snag eighth place in the one meter dive, getting the last All-American spot. The success was well-earned, but still came as a bit of a surprise to the diver, who was concerned a semester abroad could put her behind.
â€œI studied abroad last semester, so I didnâ€™t have a lot of expectations going into the meet. I had the goal of making it on the podium like last year and making All-American, but beyond that my goal was to just relax, have fun and do my best,â€ Mrkonich said. â€œAs a group, I knew we could do well and with all of us, hopefully score in the top 20 teams.â€
Also diving for Trinity was senior Mollie Patzke, who received 22nd in the three meter prelims and 19th for the 1 meter dive. This marked the seniorâ€™s first time at NCAA Nationals, and a culmination of four years of hard work, and she was very excited to get to experience the unique meet before her graduation.
â€œMy goal all season was to make it to nationals so I was very happy just to be there. My coach and I also sat down before the meet and talked about the scores I should aim for on individual dives and as a final score,â€ Patzke said. â€œNationals is a completely different experience than our other meets during the season. The NCAA sand the city of Shenandoah seemed to put a lot of effort into making the meet more than a meet. Also, perhaps more obviously, the competition is unparalleled. Along with girls just doing harder dives for better scores, the other competitors are very focused. I enjoyed how the other competitors were friendly and eager to meet other divers from around the country.â€
Swimming for the menâ€™s team was first-year Russell Hurrell-Zitelman. Coming off of a SCAC victory and record, he swam the 1,650-yard freestyle, the longest event open to swimmers. He swam an impressive 15:51.82, receiving 16th place and honorable mention All-America recognition, which, while very impressive for a first-year, left him hungry for more. For most people, swimming for that long continuously sounds crazy, much less racing it, but for Hurrell-Zitelman, all it takes is a lot of practice and a little bit of genetic predispositioning.â€
â€œI accomplished what I needed to do for my team to win the conference meet, but on a national scene I know I could have represented better. ,â€ Hurrell-Zitelman said. â€œMy sister was a successful distance swimmer at Texas A&M, so I guess it kind of ran in my family. Over the years Iâ€™ve found that the longer I go the better I fair against my competition. I would say that I and all distance swimmers are of a different breed: although we ruthlessly fight against our inner passion for tough practices and long races, we really do love it more than any other type of training or racing.â€