The Saint Mary Spires swimming team is in their first season of competition this year. This past Saturday, the team traveled to Lincoln, Illinois, for a double dual with Lincoln College and Illinois College.
The meet started off strong with Megan Cutting winning the 1,000 freestyle. Cutting’s win was the first victory in program history. The success and wins continued for the Spires with Cutting scoring in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke.
Will Dvorsky continued the success with a runner-up finish in the 1,000 freestyle and a win in the 500 free. Head coach David Bresser described Dvorsky’s race as “very smart” and said the swimmer led for the final five laps.
Andrew Goode added another Spires victory in the 100 butterfly and Ryan Hill also won the 100 breaststroke.
Goode, Dvorsky, Matthew Burton and Brendan Jamerson also took first place in the 200 freestyle relay.
The relay win was the second time the team made the NAIA national cut.
The successful day by the men’s team gave them an 83-68 win over Illinois College for the first team victory in program history. The men fell in their other dual with Lincoln College 114-70. The women fell in both meets, 131-49 to Lincoln and 129-56 against Illinois College.
Bresser said he felt like the Spires swam well on Saturday.
“We swam very well on both the men’s and women’s side throughout the meet,” Bresser said. “I was ecstatic with the way we're competing. We had some great races and it was fun to win some of the events. I was having a great time and I was extremely pleased with the way we showed up to compete.”
He said he thoroughly enjoyed watching the wins and that Hill’s win was what sealed the men’s victory.
Bresser was asked if he expected success like the Spires have had so quickly.
“That’s a hard one to answer,” Bresser said. “Honestly I was hoping for more swimmers but I understand that this is a building process. I was excited to compete right away. I need to be patient. Once I started seeing those who were committing to swim, I thought we might have a chance to get maybe a relay or two and an outside possibility of getting an individual qualified for NAIA nationals. I’m optimistic about getting an individual qualified. With a good taper at the end of the season, Megan Cutting, Robyn Lewis, Andrew Goode and Will Dvorsky have a chance.”
Bresser continued to go on about how surprised he was to see victories despite the team’s size.
“With a small team I wasn’t expecting a team victory in the first season,” Bresser said. “In college swimming at dual meets, you need numbers and depth to score points. With a small team, we can barely cover all the events. Not having a relay on the women’s side hurt on Saturday. Other than the surprise win over Illinois College on the men’s side, the outcome was about what I expected. Our women were much closer to Midland than I expected at our first meet we had in Fremont, Nebraska. They are surprising me almost every day. When USM made the decision to start this program I knew there was an abundance of talent in the surrounding area that doesn’t continue after high school. I am still hoping to tap into that talent pool to build the team. We need to maintain the motivation this season and continue to build.”
The coach said this group is already special to him and the success has given the team confidence.
“I think it is a huge confidence boost,” Bresser said. “Let me just say that this group is already special to me. I sincerely appreciate each of them because they took a huge leap of faith in coming to a program with no background. I have two freshmen and three transfers who had the guts to come here and be a part of this. I owe huge amount of gratitude to them for having faith in me. The other half picked up swimming again after some time out of the water to swim for their school. These swimmers have great attitudes given the small team and our first year. I enjoy coming to practice each day to see them work hard. We all were having so much fun on Saturday … laughing, smiling, supporting each other. I think we are swimming so well because we are relaxed and having fun. We are enjoying the ride and the success is just an added bonus. This early season success definitely is a boost to their motivation. Not only for this year but I think this team can see what the future holds. Megan and Robyn (Lewis) are setting the foundation this year and I hope to recruit strong swimmers to get a women’s relay qualified. Will, Brendan Jamerson and Mathew Burton are establishing the base for strong relays for years to come. I look forward to seeing what we can do the rest of this year. Also, I am committed to building this program and maintaining the success at Saint Mary. This is incredibly fun and rewarding. Just outstanding.”
Bresser also extended gratitude to Lincoln College and their head coach for hosting the event. He said both Lincoln and Illinois College’s coaches were helpful in getting the program started.
The swim team will return to the water on Nov. 10 in Sioux City, Iowa, for the Morningside College Invite.