’Cats catch breath as season progresses

Karly Ratzenberger

The Wildcat swim and dive team didn’t make the splash they’d hoped in their first few meets.

They placed second against St. Cloud State University and the University of Minnesota-Moorhead in October. The team also lost to Grand Valley State University (104-192) and Hillsdale College (103-134).

Despite the disappointing start, head coach Heidi Voigt said the season has been going pretty well and partially attributes the early losses to injuries and illness.

“The team is just under getting the wins on some of our dual meets,” Voigt said. “We had some injuries this year that didn’t help us but hopefully we are on the healing end of it.”

Senior Stephanie Rogaczewski said the season did not start out as planned, but the team is working to improve.

“So far the season has been a bit bumpy, but we have been working a lot harder than last year,” Rogaczewski said. “We have a lot of new girls so we have all been trying to get to know one another and figure out how we are placing people for events.”
Voigt said the timing couldn’t have been worse with members of the team catching a cold o
r getting injured.
“People were getting sick at the wrong time, getting hurt and couldn’t go to meets,” Voigt said. “Nothing serious, just one or two here and there and it kind of throws off your whole lineup and strategy.”

Three swimmers set pool records at Moorhead including freshmen Emily Brennan and Debbi Lawrence, and junior Olga Budansky.

Brennan set a pool record in the 400 individual medley (4:38.99), and is currently top seed in the 400 individual medley this weekend as well.

Budansky set the record for the 200 breaststroke (2:21.06) and Lawrence set the record in the 200 individual medley (2:13.23).

Voigt said she is thrilled with the amount of leadership on the team. The upperclassmen on the team have really helped the numerous freshmen transition from high school.

“Our captains are senior Stephanie Rogaczewski and Gabby Alzaga who is a junior; they have done a pretty good job,” Voigt said. “The team this year has about 15 freshmen and that was something that all returners have helped with.”

Rogaczewski said the team’s strong point is their ability to swim numerous events and be competitive in all of them.

“We are a very versatile team,” Rogaczewski said. “Since we added so many new people to the roster, we now have a lot more depth in all of our events which has proven to be helpful at meets.”

Voigt said the dive team is an important facet to the swim team. Without them, the team would not get as many points and would not do as well.

Assistant coach Kyle Bogner works primarily with the divers and Voigt said he has done a great job so far.

“Swimming and diving are completely different but having good divers helps immensely in a swim meet because that’s another event and a win is a win,” Voigt said.

Voigt said the team unity is great and the Wildcats have bonded very well around each other. She said the team has been working very hard for the upcoming Calvin Invite, which will take place on Dec. 1-3 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“Right now we are in the harder part of the season and we have just been working very hard,” Voigt said. “We are going to take a few days to recuperate before we go into the Calvin Invite this weekend. The girls will really get to see the benefits of all of their hard work.”

Voigt said she is very excited for the Calvin Invite. The Wildcats will be able to compete against top teams including three other GLIAC teams.

“It is going to be a great meet,” Voigt said. “Including us, there are four teams out of our conference so it will be a good preview for the conference.”

The ’Cats currently have four top seeds going into the meet, but Voigt said it doesn’t matter unless the team can show up and swim it.

“The facility is wonderful and Grand Valley will be there,” Voigt said. “GVSU is always in the top, but we look really good and I am very excited.”

Rogaczewski said the competition in the Calvin Invitational is going to be a good way for the team to really get into the heart of the season and face the tough competition.

“It should be a good lead into the hard part of our season before we start tapering,” Rogaczewski said. “Hillsdale, our No. 1 rival in the conference, will be there so it will be great to get a chance to swim against them again.”

Voigt said she was especially impressed with the performances of Alzaga and Lawrence.

“As a veteran, Gabby has been doing a great job. She does 100/200 back and I expect to see a continually good performance from her,” Voigt said. “Debbi Lawrence has been always a great go-to person for anchor on my relays and she is also seeded first in the 200 individual medley.”