Simpson College Swim and Diving Team Close Season at Liberal Art Championships

by Bryce Phillips

The Simpson swimming and diving team shattered 17
school records during the three-day meet in Illinois
The Simpson swimming and diving team recently competed at Principia College in Illinois for the Liberal Arts Championships. 
In the three-day meet, the Storm matched themselves against familiar Iowa Conference (IIAC) schools, such as Luther, Coe and Loras. The competitive meet also showcased top collegiate programs from Minnesota, Texas and Indiana. 
Highlights for the Storm on the men’s side include sophomore Kyle McKim. McKim’s strongest finish was in the 100-yard breaststroke, placing fourth with a tie of 1:00.96. The Boone, Iowa native also recorded an eighth-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke and a 14th place finish in the 200-yard IM. 
“The difference between this meet and the other meets that we competed at is this competition,” McKim said. “We have a couple meets that are pretty big, but nothing of this caliber.”
Other notable individual performances for the Storm came from sophomore JJ Hansen, junior Nathan Schneider and freshman Dylan Gray. Hansen landed a Top-10 finish in the 1-meter dive with a sixth-place finish and a score of 234.80. Schneider swam to a 10th place finish in the 400-yard IM, and Gray complied an 11th place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke. 
The men also put up great performances in the relay events. The team of Schneider, freshmen Michael Reuter and Mitchell Madson and sophomore James Tillison combined for a sixth-place finish in the 800-freestyle relay with a time of 7:48.42. In the 400-freestyle relay, Schneider, Madson, Gray and sophomore Scott Wailes swam for sixth at a mark of 3:26.57.
While breaking 14 school records, the Storm men placed ninth out of the 10-team field. Franklin College were crowned the champions after tallying a team score of 723 points after 26 events. 
Junior Megan Lein and freshman Haley Blum also had outstanding individual efforts. Lein finished third in the 200 IM and 11th in the 200-yard breaststroke. Blum mustered a 13th place finish in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:15.31. 
The Storm women also collected Top-10 finishes in relay events. The relay team of Amburgy, Blum and sophomores Mackenzie Carson and Malia Meyer, swam for eighth in the 200-yard freestyle. The Storm also gathered eighth-place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard medley. 
“This is a unique meet for us,” Lein said. “It is our biggest meet of the year, and I think our team really embraced the competition.”
The women’s team broke three school records at the meet and finished in eighth out of 12 teams. Luther swam away with first-place honors after registered 664 team points, followed by Franklin College in second (397) and Loras in third (261). The University of Minnesota-Morris placed fourth (255), Morningside in fifth (228), Coe in sixth (187), McMurry University in seventh (148), the Storm in eighth (121), Prinicipa College in ninth (97), Mills College in 10th (65), Illinois Teach in 11th (28) and Eureka College in 12th (15). 
From it being the first year in a new state-of-the-art facility to a year with a new coach, adapting to change was a must for both Simpson swimming and diving teams. 
“Coach (Tom) Caccia helped us focus on the little things such as swimming fundamentals,” Lein said. “With my past swimming experience, I was more used to an American-style where you swim until you die, but with Coach Caccia it was more of ‘quality over quantity’. I think the biggest thing Coach Caccia taught us was looking forward to the end goal.”