The Trinity swimming and diving teams have just finished up an amazing season. Both teams are walking away with a men and women’s SCAC championship, and five All-American statues or honorable mentions.
The Tigers sent four swimmers to represent at nationals. On the women’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. Hagmann’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 women’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.
“I studied abroad last semester, so I didn’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,” Mrkonich said. “As a group, I knew we could do well and with all of us, hopefully score in the top 20 teams.”
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 senior’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.
“My 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,” Patzke said. “Nationals 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.”
Swimming for the men’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.”
“I 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. ,” Hurrell-Zitelman said. “My sister was a successful distance swimmer at Texas A&M, so I guess it kind of ran in my family. Over the years I’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.”