Filling the swimming hole

by Ben Frotscher

Dana Kuiken was the face of Simpson swimming last year. Thefirst All-American in women’s swimming history at Simpson, Kuikenleft her mark not only here, but also in the Conference.

Kuiken holds four school records: 100 and 200 breastrokes and100 and 200 freestyles, along with three conference records.

The problem for this year’s team is that Kuiken graduated.

“There is no way we can fill that hole,” coach Mark Corley said.”But, overall we have gained more than our loss.”

New team members make up for that loss.

“We’ve got some very good talent with the freshmen we havecoming in and our returning people,” senior Sarah Lauterbach said.”We have a very good base of freshmen and sophomores thisyear.”

The team has seven newcomers this year with senior ErinFitzgerald bringing in the most experience for the Storm.Fitzgerald transferred to Simpson this year after Buena Vistadropped its swimming program. The three-year letter winner servedas the Buena Vista team’s captain last year. Freshman Lauren Origerwas a three-time state meet participant during her high schoolcareer, as well as a second team All-State selection.

“I think if we can work together … as a team, we will doreally well,” Origer said.

The team also returns a pair of swimmers from a year ago thatmade a splash in the conference in their first year: sophomoresKelsey McKimpson and Amanda Rigg.

McKimpson placed seventh in the 50 freestyle while Rigg finished12th in the 200 freestyle last year at the Iowa ConferenceChampionships.

The key to improvement for the Storm swim team is bringing in asolid recruiting class every year. It’s done that this year, so theeffect should show.

“We have a good base of strong underclassmen and that will helpus get some more points on the board,” Lauterbach said.

While losing Kuiken is an obstacle to overcome this season,Corley said that he expects this team to come around nicely.

“I think we are probably going to surprise some people thisyear,” Corley said.