The Torch

While Missouri State women’s swim may have walked away from the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Championships with first place hardware, Valpo still managed to put up a few positive results as many swimmers etched their names in the program’s top 10 record books.

“I thought the season went really well. [The team] improved a lot, they had positive attitudes and I’m just really proud of how they did this week,” said head coach Maggie Kroemer.

Leading the way for Valpo was sophomore Sara Strauss. In the 200 yard breaststroke, Strauss moved into fourth place all-time with a time of 2:25.58. 

“[Strauss’] season was great, she broke our school record in the 100 IM at conference [with a time of 1:00.07]. She works hard, she provided a lot of leadership and she led our team in several events throughout the year,” Kroemer said.

Joining Strauss in the 200 breaststroke record book was freshman Natalie Eaton, who stopped the clock in 2:27.44. Eaton’s time was good for eighth best all-time at Valpo. Only a freshman, Eaton will return next year as she looks to continue making her way up the Valpo standings.

“[Eaton] definitely has a lot of upside. She improved some this year and I’m looking forward to working with her for three more years in her future, and you know, I’m sure she’s going to improve more every season,” Kroemer said.

One of the most improved Beacons over the course of the season has been freshman Emma Schmidt. At the conference meet, Schmidt moved into seventh place in the all-time program record book with a time of 18:01.76 in the 1650 freestyle. 

“[Schmidt] did score in our 400 IM at the conference meet, she dropped 20 seconds in that event this year. She became a miler this year, she never really did that event before and she dropped a ton of time in that event too. I think she got best times this year in nine or 10 different events. She’s a very versatile swimmer, she’s done really well for us and I’m sure she’s going to continue to improve the next few years for us,” Kroemer said.

Competing in the final meet of her career was senior Sophie Morelock. Morelock nearly beat her previous personal best in the 200 backstroke, which currently ranks fourth in program history, clocking in with a time of 2:08.49.

The brightest spot for the Beacons in the meet was the 400 freestyle relay. Strauss, Morelock, sophomore Haley Hume and freshman Caroline Gorski just kept swimming and posted a time of 3:36.24. The group’s time ranks fifth in the all-time record book. Three of the four relay participants will be back with the team next season, and Kroemer believes the group has tremendous potential.

“Three of those swimmers on that relay are returning for next year. We have lots of people on our team that could make that relay for next year and some incoming freshmen that could help us out in that 100 free. I do think we have a shot to potentially break a school record in that event for next year,” Kroemer said.

Looking forward to next season, the women’s swim program will welcome many new faces to the pool. With a ways to go before the return to action, Kroemer is still hoping to add a few more to the incoming class. 

“On the women’s side, well we’re not done recruiting yet, but as of right now we have nine girls committed and there’s several more that are undecided that may be committing in the next couple of weeks. We do have some good [incoming] swimmers in all different events who can definitely help us without depth and help us score more points at conference for next year,” Kroemer said.

With young swimmers already writing their names in the record books and a big recruiting class set to join the program next year, the Beacons are hopeful that they can keep improving.

“It’s definitely a positive sign heading into next season. We had lots of people make big improvements this year and it’s going to be great to have them back next year and the leadership that they provide and setting an example for an incoming freshman class,” Kroemer said. “I definitely think that we’re going to be stronger next season, you know, build off of our successes from this year, try to score more points at our conference meet next year and in our dual meets try to come away with some more wins next year.”

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