Kelli Vander Baan
The Northern Michigan University women’s swimming and diving team will have its annual Green and Gold Meet, Saturday, Oct. 17 at 10 a.m. It will be the lone home meet for the team this season.
MARQUETTE, Mich. - The 2009-10 edition of the Northern Michigan University swimming and diving team will have many new faces on the roster. Four upperclassmen are on the roster while the remaining 14 members of the squad are either freshmen (10) or sophomores (four). The Aqua-‘Cats are looking to move up in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) standings after last year’s eighth-place finish.
According to head coach Bob Laughna the team is young and might show some weaknesses. The vast majority of the team is an unknown entering the season. They will find out collegiate swimming is a bit different. Overall he thinks some of the strengths of the team could come in breaststroke, backstroke, sprint freestyle and some 200 events. But the weaknesses according to Laughna are in the distance freestyle, butterfly and individual medley events.
Laughna thinks the following swimmers could lead the team. They include Ashley Backman (sophomore) a backstroker; Olga Budiansky (freshman) will swim the breaststroke events, Kelsey Sipple (freshman) sprint freestyle, Elyse Sawka (sophomore) individual medley and butterfly, and Kelli Vander Baan (junior) diver. Vander Bann, the lone junior on the team, placed ninth at last year’s NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships on the 3-meter board and just missed making the finals in the event. She placed third on the 3-meter board at the GLIAC Championships. “She will be a role model for the two young divers,” said Laughna.
Two of the newcomers who could make an impact in the teams are divers. Alison Black and Kayla Walenta are the divers who will join Vander Bann on the 1 and 3-meter boards. Other newcomers who could make an impact include Genevieve Haas (freestyle and butterfly) and Lindsay Stedman (freestyle, butterfly and individual medley).
Hannah Bolger (individual medley and breaststroke), Sarah Cempel (distance freestyle) and Lindsay VandenBroeck (butterfly and individual medley) are the seniors on the squad. Rounding out the squad are sophomores Stephanie Rogaczewski (butterfly and individual medley) and Jacqueline Walsh (sprint freestyle). The remaining freshmen are Lauren Cockels (backstroke), Jennifer Gallgher (butterfly and freestyle), Michele Kolin (backstroke and middle distance freestyle) and Jessica Linnen (breaststroke).
“Wayne State and Grand Valley State will be the top two teams going for the GLIAC Championship,” said Laughna. “I would be happy if we could move up to fifth in the conference race.” NMU scored 153.5 points at last year’s championship meet. Hillsdale was fifth with 372 points. Grand Valley State won the women’s crown with 897 points while Wayne State was second (869). Wayne State will be the host school for this year’s GLIAC Championships.
This group is young and will be tested early, but come the end of the season just in time for the GLIAC Championship all the pieces could fall into place.
2009-10 NMU Swimming and Diving Schedule
Oct. 31 at Hillsdale
Nov. 7 at UW-Oshkosh
Dec. 3-5 at Calvin College Invite
Jan. 2 vs. Lock Haven (Cocoa Beach, Fla.)
Jan. 22-23 at Stevens Point Invite
Jan. 30 at Grand Valley State
Feb. 10-13 at GLIAC Championships (Detroit, Mich.)
March 10-13 at NCAA Division II Championships (Canton, Ohio)
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Sports Information Director