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November 4, 2008

2009-10 Season - First year head coach Scott Johannsen looks forward to working with Viking women's swimmers

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – First year head coach Scott Johannsen is looking forward to working with the Vikings swimmers this season, emphasizing the need to add stability to the program.  “We need to build a base,” said Johannsen.  “People looking at Augustana need to know that there is consistent leadership and we are going to work hard to instill that in our program.”

Johannsen is hoping to see his swimmers adapt to a training philosophy, which focuses on practicing at race pace.  “Everything we do in practice is at race pace and we will steadily build up our distance throughout the season.”  While other teams may be working up to speed workouts, Johannsen’s approach will have the Vikings doing a lot of speed training early in the year and working to maintain it.  “We will feature high intense, shorter training sessions,” said Johannsen.

The women’s team returns eight letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished fourth at the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Championships.  Augustana also won the Eureka Invitational, earned a runner-up finish at the Augustana Invitational, and placed fourth at the North Central Invitational. 

Sophomore Emily Cox (Pioneer HS, Ann Arbor, Mich.) and junior Sara Hlavin (St. Viator HS, Elk Grove Village, Ill.) are the top two returning swimmers and both should “compete for CCIW titles” this season, said Johannsen.  Cox was fifth at the CCIW Championships in the 1650 freestyle and seventh in the 500 freestyle last year.  Her 500 freestyle time of 5:29.53 is fifth on the all-time list.  She is also seventh on the top times list in the 1000 freestyle with a clocking of 11:30.13 and sits eighth in the 1650 freestyle at 19:07.54.  Hlavin placed fifth in the 400 individual medley at the conference meet.  Her finishing time of 4:58.18 makes her third on the all-time list in Augustana history.  “Both of them have a strong work ethic and are individuals to build around,” said Johannsen. 

Senior Laura Anderson (Redwood Valley HS, Redwood Falls, Minn.) also returns for the Vikings.  She recorded the team’s best 200 breaststroke time at the CCIW meet, finished with a team best time of 2:59.68 in the event, and was voted “Most Improved” on the squad last season. Junior Emma Moran (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) is back and finishing with the team best time of 2:37.94 in the 200 butterfly last season.

The men’s squad brings back nine letterwinners from last season where the team placed sixth at the CCIW Championships.  The Vikings also won a team title at the Eureka Invitational and finished second at the Augustana and North Central Invitationals. 

Senior Danny Betz (DeKalb HS, DeKalb, Ill.) and junior Eric Zike (Ridgeview HS, Colfax, Ill.) bring back the most varsity experience on the team and each “should do well at the CCIW Championships,” according to Johannsen.  Betz had Augustana’s top time in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly last season and won the 100 butterfly event at the Augustana and Eureka Invitationals.  His time of :54.26 in the 100 butterfly is eighth on the all-time list.  Zike was the team leader in the 100 and 200 backstroke, where he had the best time on the squad during the season.  He won the 50 and 100 backstroke along with the 100 individual medley at the Eureka Invitational.  “They have been adapting to the teaching philosophy and are going to do well this season,” said Johannsen.

Sophomore Drew Clinton (Riverside-Brookfield HS, Brookfield, Ill.) also comes back for Augustana after earning Team MVP honors last season.  He was the team’s top swimmer in the 100 freestyle (:49.60), 100 breaststroke (1:11.98), and 200 individual medley (2:16.21) events. Sophomore Derek Sanderson (Lincoln Way East HS, Tinley Park, Ill.) had the fastest clocking in the 1650 freestyle (18:37.16) last year and also turned in the best time in the 200 breaststroke (3:11.95).  Senior Ian Gustafson (Rockford Jefferson HS, Cherry Valley, Ill.) led the Vikings with a time of 2:20.78 in the 200 butterfly while sophomore Brian Tuinenga (Glenbard South HS, Glen Ellyn, Ill.) was the fastest in the 400 individual medley at 5:34.14.

Johannsen has high goals for the Augustana swimming program for the 2008-09 campaign and feels that “the overall depth with this group will give us an opportunity to be in the top three in the CCIW.”  The Augustana swimming roster has roughly doubled from last season, which will benefit the squad throughout the year. 

With the increase in numbers, Johannsen is also looking for some new faces to play key roles within the program.  Freshman Denny Wind (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.) should be a contributor in the freestyle and butterfly events for the men’s team.  Freshmen Jessica Fair (Ashton-Franklin Center, Franklin Grove, Ill.) and Colleen Mans (Robbinsdale Cooper HS, New Hope, Minn.) will look to help the women’s team.  Fair is a freestyler while Mans focuses on the backstroke events. 

The CCIW will also score diving at the conference meet this year, and the Vikings are hoping to take advantage of that opportunity with senior Rob Emerson (Libertyville HS, Libertyville, Ill.) and sophomore Tonya Walter (Prospect HS, Mt. Prospect, Ill.) competing in that role for the program.

“The young men and women know that I am here to help them succeed,” said Johannsen.  “We all have common goals and need to work well as a team to achieve them,” he added.

The Vikings travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for a dual match with the Kohawks on Friday, November 7.  Augustana will open its home schedule with a triangular against Knox and Iowa Central on Saturday, November 8.

Story written by Assistant Sports Information Director Adam Strand