MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Swimming and Diving team will send a total of 18 swimmers and divers to the NCAA Division II Swim & Dive Championships taking place March 13-March 17 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Nine women qualified for a total of 14 races, including all five relays, plus both diving events. Nine men have qualified for eight events, and also earned an appearance in both diving events.
On the women's side, sophomore Rachel Helm (Newcastle, England/Burnside College) is slated to compete in four races. She looks to defend her national championship in the 100-yard backstroke, and is currently ranked third nationally. She ranks first in the 200-yard backstroke, is 11th in the 200-yard individual medley and qualified for the 100-yard butterfly. The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Women's Swimmer of the Year, she is coming off four individual wins at the GLIAC Championship meet.
Freshman Gabriella Spajic (New South Wales Australia/De La Salle Catholic College Cronulla) will compete in the 1,000-yard freestyle, ranks 14th in the 400-yard individual medley, ranks 12th in the 200-yard butterfly and will participate in the 1,650-yard freestyle.
Freshman Lena Soulas (London, England/Woodhouse College) will take part in the 50-yard freestyle, the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle, with junior Regan Kilburn (Muscatine, Iowa) competing in the 100 and 200-yard backstroke events. Kilburn ranks 15th in the 100 backstroke and is 14th in the 200 backstroke while Soulas won the GLIAC's 100 freestyle.
Helm, Spajic, Soulas, and Kilburn, will also team with freshman Margaret Vaitkus (Munster, Ind.), sophomore Madelyn Irelan (Owosso, Mich.) and junior Dana Stroven (Howell, Mich.) to compete in all five relays. The 200-yard medley relay is ranked 10th and the 400-yard medley relay team is 11th. The only relay's include the 200-yard freestyle, the 400-yard freestyle and the 800-yard freestyle.
Freshman Katharina Springhetti (Tramin, Italy/Auerora Specialized Secondary School for Economic Field) will appear in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke races to round out the women's swimming appearances. Springhetti claimed the 100 breaststroke at the GLIAC's.
Sophomore Jamie Kimble (Prior Lake, Minn.) provides the team with a diving presence as she will take part in both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events.
On the men's side, sophomore Lajos Budai (Kecskemet, Hungary/Bolyai Janos) and junior Ryan Leonard (South Wales, Australia/Toronto) will both compete in four races. Budai will compete in the 50, 100 and 200-yard freestyle events and the 100-yard backstroke. He ranks seventh in the 100 backstroke, is fifth in the 100 freestyle and won both events at this year's GLIAC Championships. Leonard takes part in the 200 and 400-yard individual medleys, ranking sixth in the 200 IM which he won at the GLIAC Championships, the 200-yard butterfly and the 200-yard backstroke.
The Co-GLIAC Men's Swimmer of the Year, Grantas Dapkus (Kaunas, Lithuania/Kaunas Saule) will swim in four freestyle races, the 1,000, 200, 500 and the 1,650. At the GLIAC Championships, Dapkus captured victories in the 1,000 and the 500 freestyle. Junior David Miranda (Vinaros, Spain/IES Jose Viloplane) won the GLIAC's 200-yard butterfly and will compete in the 200 butterfly plus the 1,000-yard freestyle and the 400-yard individual medley.
Sophomore Jonas Reinhold (Nienhagen, Germany/Holty Gymnasium-Celle) and junior Arnoldo Herrera (Heredia, Costa Rica/Saint Jude), will also join the team for relay events. The men's 800-yard freestyle relay has won three-straight GLIAC Championships and is ranked 12th nationally. The 400-yard freestyle relay also qualified. Due to the men's team placing four swimmers in individual races, the men will be able to compete in all five relays this year.
Junior Renars Bundzis (Riga, Latvia/Riga Secondary School) will also make an appearance in the Championships, swimming in the 200-yard individual medley, the 100-yard backstroke where he ranks 12th, and the 200-yard backstroke where he ranks second. He won the 200 backstroke at the GLIAC Championships.
Junior Kyle Flickinger (Brimley, Mich./Sault Area) and junior Charlie Pavlak (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) compete in the men's diving competition and will dive both the 1-meter and 3-meter events.
Swimmers who qualified for one event are allowed to swim any other races where they posted an NCAA Provisional B-Cut. All divers who qualified for the meet will dive in both diving events. The meet begins on Tuesday, March 13 and will continue with different events each day. The final day of the Championships will take place on March 17. Live results and video of the meet will be made available once it is provided.