Swimming and diving 2017 season preview

JOEL WAUTERS, Sports Editor | [email protected]

Following a historic season of record-smashing performances and an offseason coaching search, the UNI women’s swimming and diving team prepares to spring into the pool for another quality, high-action season.

After saying farewell to nine seniors, UNI also said goodbye to head coach Doug Humphrey after his resignation in late May. Humphrey accepted a head coaching position at South Dakota State University. Following an extensive summer search, Nick Lakin, formerly the head coach of the Cedar Falls-based Black Hawk Area swim team, was tapped as his replacement.

Lakin takes over a program that has seen a recent spike in improvement in the last several seasons. After spending years near the bottom of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) standings, the Panthers have finished the last two seasons in the top three, only trailing rivals Missouri State and Southern Illinois. At last season’s MVC Championship Meet, UNI finished first in seven of the 20 events, and finished in the top eight in all but two events.

Returning for the Panthers this season are a handful of reigning MVC medalists from last February’s conference meet. Two-time defending 50 and 100 freestyle champion Molly Lembezder leads the way as the team’s key sprinter. Sophomore Katie Taylor claimed victory in last year’s 200 backstroke and 400 individual medley and looks to retain her crown. Meanwhile, junior Crystal Florman looks to continue to be a force in both mid-distance and sprint distance events.

In the diving well, senior Hannah Brummel and junior Alyssa Deuso look to lead the way with incredible performances on the springboard. Both were top-five finishers in the one and three meter diving competitions from the conference championships last year.

Following multiple seasons of success and improvement, the Panthers look to replicate that same energy going into a new season and a new era. UNI will hold its Purple & Gold Intrasquad Meet on Friday, Sept. 29 in the Glen F. Henry Pool at the UNI Wellness-Recreation Center. The Panthers will return on Friday, Oct. 13 in a duel against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.