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April 17, 2024

DSU Swimmers Make Waves

Statesmen, Lady Statesmen have strong performances at NCAA Division II Nationals

By Andy Collier, The Bolivar Bullet

The Delta State University Statesmen and Lady Statesmen swimming and diving teams had some great performances at the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving National Championships at the Spire Institute Aquatics Center in Geneva, Ohio last week. 

The DSU swimming teams had six top eight finishes in the event which started on March 12 and concluded on Saturday (March 16). In the team standings, the Lady Statesmen finished 15th in the women’s meet with 88 points, while the Statesmen took 22nd in the men’s meet with 43 points. 

The highlight of the week  for Delta State came on Friday (March 15) in the women’s meet. DSU’s team of senior Dani Solkow, sophomore Mikayla Kloth, sophomore Jordon Kloth and sophomore Kaley Davis finished second in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:31.38. The time was only .12 seconds behind the winning time of 1:31.26 swam by Colorado Mesa’s Agata Naskret, Ada Qunell, Elli Williams and Lauren White. DSU’s time in the race was a team record for the event. Solkow’s lead off time of 22.84 seconds is also a new team record for the 50-yard freestyle. The relay team earned First Team All-American honors for DSU. 

“Through out the current season, this group of ladies lowered the team record multiple times and achieved the three fastest times in team history,” said Delta State Head Swimming Coach Dan’l Murray. “This performance was one of the more exciting of all the relays during the entire championships. I’m very proud of how each athlete handled the big stage to compete in the top heat at nationals among the very best in the country.”

On the men’s side, the Statesmen got a huge lift from freshman Santiago Santodomingo as he finished third and earned first team All-American honors in the 1-meter dive (517.05) on March 13 and third in the 3-meter dive (565.70) on Friday (March 15). Santodomingo’s performance in both events were the best in the history of men’s diving at DSU. 

“Santiago lead an impressive showing for the entire diving program under Coach (Kyle) Friesenhahn,” said Murray. “He is a very driven individual and performs well under pressure.”

On the women’s side in the individual swimming events, Solkow finished fifth and earned First Team All-American honors in the 50-yard freestyle (22.95) on March 13, and Mikayla Kloth finished seventh and earned First-Team All-American honors in the 100-yard butterfly (54.64) on Thursday (March 14). 

In the diving events, the Lady Statesmen got a clutch performance from one of their freshmen as Taya Schmidt finished eighth and earned First Team All-American honors in the 1-meter dive (398.90). The performance in the women’s 1-meter dive was the best in the program’s history for the event at nationals. 

“She was the first women’s team diver in school history to qualify for ‘A’ finals at the NCAA Championships and finish as an All-American,” said Murray. “Her talent and ability showed up during the event. This was a competitive field this season. With her development under Coach Friesenhahn, she proved was she was good enough to be considered one of the top divers in the country. As a freshman, she showed confidence in each dive. We are very proud of her accomplishment this season.”

Sophomore Janne Bodemer shined in the 200-yard butterfly for the Lady Statesmen as she finished 16th and earned second team All-American honors with a time of 2:03.79. 

The women also scored points in two more relay events. The team of Davis, junior Alexis Moon, Mikayla Kloth and Solkow finished 12th in the 200-yard medley relay (1:41.87) on March 13 and finished 14th in the 400-yard medley relay (3:45) on Thursday (March 14). The four swimmers earned Second Team All-American honors in each event. 

On the men’s side, freshman Braden Moore earned Second Team All-American honors by finishing 13th in the 1-meter dive (418.95) and 15th in the 3-meter dive, and sophomore Ryan Whaley Earned Second-Team All-American honors by finishing 15th in the 1-meter dive (393.75). 

In the relay events, DSU’s team of freshman Mini Marinho, freshman Matheus Da Rocha, sophomore Brooks Butler and sophomore Mateus Franco earned Second Team All-American honors by finishing 15th in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:21.09) on Friday.