Voigt confident in swim and dive team’s future

Kelly McCommons

When the NMU swimming and diving team took on Saginaw Valley State University this past Saturday, they faced a team with a unique distinction. It was the inaugural year for the SVSU women’s team, a possible glimpse to what next year might hold for the Wildcats, as NMU will gain a men’s program in 2015.

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NMU head coach Heidi Voigt said SVSU is a team on the rise.

“It was Saginaw’s initial year as a team, and they’ll get stronger and stronger as the years progress,” Voigt said. “They had a couple of good performances, notably in the 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard butterfly. But we held our own against them. I had some people in some different events to try them out, and got a few surprises along the way.”

Next season, both NMU and SVSU will introduce men’s swimming and diving. Voigt said the process has been an exciting one.

“I’m pretty confident how recruiting is going,” Voigt said. “We’re going to be decently strong coming in. I don’t think I’ll be at the bottom of the GLIAC.”

Molly Kearney competed in the one-meter and three-meter diving events. The junior, who has already qualified for NCAA nationals in Indianapolis, said she is looking forward to perfecting new dives.

“The mindset is once you qualify, you can start to cruise through the season and really start to work on things and not get freaked out yet.” Kearney said. “At this point, it’s [about] perfecting and learning new dives. Sometimes that means some bruising (from smacking the water).”

Senior Tara Dowling said even though it’s her last year, she and her other teammates who will be leaving the program after this year, feel good.

“We’re the closest we’ve ever been,” Dowling said. “It’s the last shot with the 24 of us together. It’s a very happy, but here-to-do-business attitude.”

The ’Cats will be back in action this weekend in a double dual meet against Grand Valley State University and Minnesota St. Cloud at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15 at the PEIF pool.

“It’ll be really fun, Grand Valley is always a strong team and we always race them hard,” Voigt said. “We’ve beat them in Conference but not in a dual meet since I’ve been here. St. Cloud always is a strong team. I’ll be great to see them again as they always push us to do our best.”

The ’Cats will be graduating several seniors this year from the program and will need to recruit for next season.

“Number-wise we are doing well,” Voigt said. “We have strong verbal commitments and we’ll officially ink” them this week.”