Athletics Communications Intern
MARQUETTE, Mich. - The Northern Michigan University Women's Swim and Dive team finished their successful 2018-19 season with multiple All-Americans and broke five team records and six pool records.
In their regular season, the team won seven of eight dual meets with their only loss coming to Division I Bowling Green State University. The Wildcats placed second in the Calvin College Invitation, and claimed third in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships. In the NCAA National Championship, the team earned four All-American honors and 10 Honorary All-American honors.
Junior Rachel Helm (Newcastle, England) led the team, taking over GLIACs with three records and four championships. She broke her own GLIAC and school record in the 200-yard individual medley and broke her GLIAC record in the 200-yard backstroke. For the third year in a row she won the 100-yard backstroke for the third year in a row in addition to winning this year's 100-yard butterfly. She concluded the conference meet with her second straight GLIAC Swimmer of the Year. At the NCAAs, Helm was named All-American in the 200-yard individual medley, 100-yard backstroke, and 200-yard backstroke, with an Honorary All-American in the 100-yard butterfly.
Helm was also part of many successful relays within GLIACs and Nationals. The 200-yard medley relay of senior Regan Kilburn (Muscatine, Iowa), Helm, junior Madelyn Irelan (Owosso, Mich.), and sophomore Margaret Vaitkus (Munster, Ind.) received second in the conference meet, and also got the athletes named Honorary All-Americans by breaking a school record. The relay team of sophomore Lena Soulas (London, England), Vaitkus, Kilburn, and Helm were named Honorary All-Americans in both the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays. The 400 free relay broke the GLIAC meet record.
In GLIACs, Soulas won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, Kilburn placed third in the 100-yard backstroke, senior Emily Bell (London, England) got third in the 200-yard butterfly with sophomore Gabriella Spajic (Sydney, Australia) following in fourth. Over at the diving well, Angela Probstfeld (White Lake, Mich) received second on the 3 meter board.
At nationals, Soulas became an Honorary All-American in the 100-yard freestyle, senior Savanna Saunders (Manchester, England) received All-American status in the 200-yard backstroke, Probstfeld and freshman Mary Grossman (Goshen, Ind.) were named Honorary All-Americans in the 1-meter and 3-meter diving boards, with junior Jamie Kimble (Prior Lake, Minn.) earning the distinction on the 3-meter board.
Within the season, Irelan established a new NMU pool record in the 50-yard freestyle. Other pool records within the season came from Helm in the 100-yard butterfly, 50- and 100-yard breaststroke, and 50- and 100-yard backstroke.
After a season of new records and a nearly undefeated season, the team will return next year with six Honorary All-American athletes and one All-American.