Swimming and diving begins season with new head coach

Swimming and diving begins season with new head coach
Junior Nesrine Jelliti swims the 200-meter breaststroke against South Dakota State University, placing first with a time of 2:26.74. Photo by Dave Eggen/GoAugie. 

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving team launched its season with the arrival of a new coach and a meet against St. Cloud State University and the University of Sioux Falls on Sept. 28.  

The women’s team swam to a win of 167-133 over St. Cloud University and fell 167-127 to USF. The men’s team competed only against St. Cloud because USF does not have a men’s swim team, and lost 223-77. 

“Not having been at Midco or running a meet there before, there were a lot of technological issues that we did not circumvent that we had to work through,” head coach Andrew Makepeace said. “Besides that, I think it went well. We’ve been training for about a month, and a lot of that was to get on a similar wavelength. Everybody is new to me as I am new to them.”

Makepeace was hired this past spring after previous head coach Lindsie Micko announced her resignation after the NSIC championships. 

“When Augustana opened up, it was a little bit of a shock because I wasn’t expecting the previous coach to be anticipating moving on anytime soon,” Makepeace said.

Micko was with Augustana for six seasons as head coach before she announced her resignation. 

Makepeace coached at various youth levels throughout his college career before becoming an assistant coach at Minnesota State University Mankato for four years. His most recent position was head coaching at the University of Findlay in Ohio for 11 years.

“I love Division II. I think it has a really good balance. It was kind of a natural fit,” Makepeace said. “

When he first arrived on campus, Makepeace felt he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to coach because of people like Madison Peterson, associate athletics director for compliance and senior woman administrator, and others he met. 

“Especially for those who have been here for a while, we’re learning to trust the process and understand that [Makepeace] is a successful coach,” senior swimmer Mary Holthe said. “We may feel like we’re not in the best shape now, but we’re not supposed to be in shape right now. It’s the beginning of the season. The endgame is February.”

On Oct. 1, sophomore Clare Duplissis made NSIC history by becoming the first diver at Augustana to achieve Diver of the Week. 

“I was on the team last year and it was kind of a building year for us because it was the first year we ever had divers score at conference,” Duplissis said. “Now, this year is more of, ‘They know who we are, they know what we are going to do, so let’s go in and beat them’. The divers really came through against St. Cloud. We overall came in, broke records, scored high and gave St. Cloud a run for their money.” 

Duplissis placed first on the 1-meter dive against St. Cloud University with a score of 216.15 points. 

On the 3-meter dive, freshman Avery Lommel placed first with 217.95 points, with Duplissis following in second with 212.55 points. 

For the men’s diving team, freshman David Binsfeld placed second on the 1-meter dive, breaking a school record with his score of 227.63 points. 

“It feels good. I know that Caden [Kavanagh] and I are just going to go back and forth breaking it because it is a fresh record,” Binsfeld said. “We’re going to continue being competitive with each other and I’m sure it’s going to be broken every other week between us.” 

On Oct. 6, the Vikings traveled to Brookings to compete against South Dakota State University.

Against SDSU, both teams fell short. The women’s team lost with a score of 146-95 and the men fell 150-79. 

Binsfeld placed first in the 3-meter dive, breaking his own record against SDSU with 260.78. Lommel also broke an Augustana record on the 3-meter dive with a score of 231.6 points placing second. 

The Vikings headed to St. Paul, Minnesota on Oct. 7 and found success against the University of St. Thomas.  

“This team is doing an amazing job this year working very hard, working on technical stuff and I can’t wait to see what this season brings for us,” junior Nesrine Jelliti said. “The energy this year is really good with the new coach and everyone is really encouraging.”

Sophomore Bryn Greenwaldt placed first in the women’s 100-yard backstroke with a time of 58.19 and sophomore Ella Ward-Zeller followed with a time of 1:00.13. Jelliti claimed the last victory for Augustana in the 100-fly with a time of 1:00.25. 

“We should continue to get better and develop and grow,” Makepeace said. “It’s a challenging conference. Our goal is to jump a couple of places, but that will take a lot of hard work ahead of us, but I think we’re in a position that, come February, we’ll be a challenge for a lot of teams to handle.” 

University of Sioux Falls will host the women’s swimming and diving team and Minnesota State University Moorhead at the Midco Aquatic Center at 5 p.m on Oct. 20-21. Both teams will travel to Nebraska on Oct. 27 to compete against the University of Nebraska Omaha.