Missouri swimming and diving prepares for season opener

The team will officially start its season in the Show-Me Showdown Saturday.

The Missouri swimming and diving team opened up the season on Friday with its annual Black and Gold Intersquad meet. Swimmers and divers alike showed promise for the upcoming season, which begins with the sixth annual Show-Me Showdown on Oct. 2 in Columbia.

At the Intersquad meet, each team had two captains. Representing the Black team was Morgan McCleery, and Anders Melin. The Gold team captains were Francie Szostak, and Jordan Hawley. All of the captains are seniors and hope to replace a considerably strong class of seniors from the previous year.

All of the captains seemed to feel the same way about being nominated by their teammates.

“It is a great privilege,” senior captain Anders Melin said. “It’s humbling to have the respect of the entire team.”

Melin is one of three swimmers on the team from overseas. He started swimming in South Carolina at a division two school, and when the opportunity to come to the University of Missouri came, he jumped on it.

“It is a great thing for international students to come to America,” Melin said. “The education system is top of the line. To be able to combine that with something we love, swimming, is something amazing you can’t get in Europe or wherever you may be from.”

First year coach Greg Rhodenbaugh was pleased with the teams’ performance at the meet.

“The team swam well overall,” Rhodenbaugh said. “They were swimming just as fast in relays as they did in individuals. That shows pride.”

Relays were the focus of team goals for the season.

“We want to get a relay team to the NCAA meet this year,” senior Jordan Hawley said. “That is our biggest goal.”

Melin had a bigger goal in mind for the team.

“We want to make it to the men’s championships,” he said. “We have so much talent. We are going to get there. There is no doubt about it, nothing can stop us.”

On the diving side of things, junior Jordan Morcom, coming off of a season in which she qualified for the NCAA meet, hopes to improve and go even further. At the Intersquad meet, she did well, placing first in the Women’s three meter diving.

Coach Rhodenbaugh said that the team has been doing well in practices. He was very pleased with the team’s performance in Friday’s meet.

“I’m still on the honeymoon of my first year here but I expect great things,” he said. “Everything is going well.”

Rhodenbaugh was the assistant coach at the University of Arizona last year. When he came in, he brought with him an entirely new coaching staff.

“I am very fortunate that all the people I asked to come build this thing with me wanted to come,” he said. “They’re all fine coaches.”

The team has responded well to the coaching staff change. They have been very supportive of the things coach Rhodenbaugh has done, and have responded well to his teachings.

“I expect a lot of my team,” Rhodenbaugh said. “They have accepted the changes I have made. I’m very excited for the season we have ahead of us.”

Captains Morgan McCleery and Francie Szostak had one particular goal in mind for the girl’s teams.

“We want to get more girls to the NCAA meet,” Szostak said. “Last year we felt very unfulfilled because we felt our team wasn’t adequately represented. We can do better than that.”

McCleery also said that she wanted more girls to make the trip, adding that she feels the team has the potential to be one of the best Missouri has had in recent memory.

The Intersquad meet concluded with the Gold team victorious by two points.

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