The Bismarck State College Aquatic & Wellness Center will be a busy place this week.
Led by host University of Mary, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Swimming & Diving Championships begin today. Eight NSIC teams, topped by returning conference champion St. Cloud State, will compete in 22 events in the four-day meet. Trials begin at 10 a.m. each day, with finals set for 5:30 p.m.
“There is tremendous interest in swimming and diving throughout our community and Bismarck boasts one of the best aquatic centers in the region,” University of Mary athletic director Dale Lennon said.
St. Cloud State has won four of the five NSIC swimming titles. Minnesota State-Mankato won in 2018. The other six teams competing are Augustana, MSU-Moorhead, Northern State, Southwest Minnesota State and Sioux Falls.
The Marauders, who placed fifth at last year’s conference meet, are 6-4 this season in duals under first-year head coach Leah Neiheisel. U-Mary has won two of its last three duals, featuring wins over MSU-Moorhead (147-141) and Southwest Minnesota State (183-91) late last month.
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U-Mary has contenders in several races.
The Marauders’ roster has two swimmers that have NCAA tournament national experience in sophomore Victoria Murillo and junior Abbey Zajdzinski. Murillo holds the school-record time for the Marauders in the 100, 200 and 500-freestyles.
In conference action, Murillo ranks first in the 500 free (4:56.92) and second in the 200 (1:51.51) and 1000 (10:40.95). She also has the fifth-best time in the 200 breaststroke (2:25.32).
Sophomore Andrea Lee is coming off a pool-record performance in the 1,000-meter freestyle in the dual against SMSU in the BSC pool. Lee was named the NSIC’s swimmer of the week for the time of 10:42.95. Lee ranks fourth in the 1,600 (17:35.78) 1,000 (10:40.95).
Rachel Riedel ranks fourth in the 200 backstroke (2:06.26). Rylie Webb is sixth in the 100 individual medley (1:00.35).
The meet runs through Saturday.
“We look forward to a great week of competition as we bring some of the nation's best student-athletes to the Bismarck-Mandan area,” Lennon said.