Macalester Swim and Dive Teams Shatter School Records

Macalester Swim and Dive Teams Shatter School Records

Thomas Windels, Contributing Writer

The swim and dive team finished its record-breaking season on Feb. 19. The program took massive strides this season toward its ultimate goal of winning the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), highlighted by the team breaking 11 school records. The 2021-2022 campaign was led by the outstanding performances of several first-year athletes as well as the leadership of the graduating seniors, which offers much to look forward to for the future. 

Overall, the team struggled in dual meets as well as the win and loss column this season. The women’s swim and dive team finished sixth out of nine teams and the men’s swim and dive team placed fifth out of six teams at the MIAC championship. Despite their record, the team took huge steps this year due to the emergence of the first-year class. 

“They were incredible,” head swimming and diving coach Kyllian Griffin said of the class of 2025. “They absolutely dominated.” 

He cited the improvement by the women’s team from the 2020 MIAC Championship to the 2022 MIAC Championship. The women improved their final team score by a larger margin than any other team in the conference, going from 179 to 305. 

“The team’s improvement is best seen through individual performances,” Griffin said. 

Griffin emphasized the underclassmen’s performance because they will remain in the program for the next three seasons.

Athletes also recognize the team’s massive improvements. Captain Sena Takashima ’22 noted the shift in the team’s attitude this year. 

Takashima said, “While it was a little overwhelming to enter the season with the first year class making up a majority of the team’s roster, I quickly realized the group’s high potential.” 

Takashima was not only impressed by the first years’ talent but also their strong work ethic and dedication.

She said, “[The first years] also have a strong work ethic and dedication to the program.” 

Verity Wray-Raabolle ’25 has also seen the changes in the team dynamic. 

Wray-Raabolle said, “[This is the] first year of a new Macalester swim team.” 

Charles Batsaikhan ’25, one of the top first years on the men’s team, performed well in the MIAC championships. Although the men’s portion of the team lost to the Gustavus Adolphus College Gusties in the team totals, Batsaikhan placed third in the 200-yard breaststroke, earning All-MIAC honors. 

Griffin said that Batsaikhan led by example with his methodical preparation and work ethic.

“[Batsaikhan] challenges his teammates everyday,” Griffin said. “I was really impressed with his preparation before the MIAC championships. He came up to me with a specific plan on how to win the event.”

Griffin also mentioned how methodical and prepared Batsaikhan is for every meet. Batsaikhan won nine individual events, including three first place finishes at the Ahlman Invitational, breaking the program record in the men’s 200 meter breaststroke with a finals time of 2:09.14. The record Batsaikhan broke dated back to 2006 and previously stood at 2:12.78. Batsaikhan was also part of a 200 freestyle relay team that broke a 33-year-old record with a time of 1:27.46. The other members of this team were Benjamin Blomquist ’22, Aidan Williams ’22 and Isaac Kisker ’25.

Kisker and Ben Lewin ’25 also put together impressive first-year campaigns, placing or receiving honorable mentions in almost every meet throughout the season. Other first-year swimmers with strong potential in multiple events include Ryan McNeff ’25, Ramier Villarama ’25, Adrian Aguilar ’25, Adam Schroeder ’25 and Jay Fanning ’25. 

On the women’s side, the narrative is similar. 

While they lost to the St. Catherine University Wildcats in the MIAC championship, several first-year swimmers showed strong potential. Wray-Raabolle placed high in multiple events this past season, and earned All-MIAC honors in the 100 yard backstroke at the MIAC championship. By earning All-MIAC honors, Wray-Raabolle has broken a long drought for the Macalester Women’s Swim and Dive team. According to Griffin, Wray Raabolle is the first Macalester women’s swimmer to win All-MIAC honors in around 15 years. 

Aside from Wray-Raabolle, Anna Radowski ’25, Eleanor Parker ’25, Caroline Chapon ’25, Natalie Pollock ’25, Olivia Johnson ’25, Olga Merkadeau ’25, Elizabeth Batsaikhan ’25 and Kate Yehle ’25 also put together impressive seasons, with many of them placing in their respective events. 

Jocelyn Radke ’24 also put together an impressive season, breaking three school records. Radke broke the 100 yard freestyle, the 100 yard butterfly and the 50 yard freestyle. 

Wray-Raabolle echoed Takashima’s confidence about the future of the program. She predicted the team will win the MIAC championship in the next three years, citing the first year swimmers’ bond and drive. 

“Everyone is pushing you to be the best swimmer you can be, the best person you can be, and the best student you can be,” Wray-Raabolle said. “It’s really hard not to do your best and try to succeed in that environment. We always say before a meet: swim for each other.”

She added that while the team fell short in total points in many meets, there were individual flashes of brilliance that showed everyone what they are capable of in the coming years. 

Altogether, Griffin is pleased with this season’s results.  

“[This was the] first year it kind of all hit,” he said.  

Griffin and Wray-Raabolle are looking forward to the next few seasons and the development of the new swim team. The Macalester swim and dive teams will look to continue to improve and impress in the coming years and will remain a must-watch for the Macalester community.

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