Denver women tabbed as Swimming and Diving Preseason Favorite by League Coaches

Junior Sammy Walker was named the 2018 Diver of the Championships and has three career All-Summit League honors
Junior Sammy Walker was named the 2018 Diver of the Championships and has three career All-Summit League honors

By: Kelly Shipp

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Denver University women's swimming and diving team was voted by the league's six head coaches to win The Summit League's 2018-19 swimming and diving title. This marks the sixth consecutive season that the Pioneers have been tabbed by the coaches to win the championship.

The Pioneers, winners of the last five Summit League Championships, collected all five of the possible first-place votes. Denver was followed in the preseason poll by Omaha, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Western Illinois and Eastern Illinois.

Points were compiled on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis and coaches could not vote for their own team.

The 27th season of women's swimming and diving in The Summit League begins Sept. 28.

Summit League Women's Swimming & Diving Preseason Coaches' Poll



Points (1st)

2017-18 Championship Finish




25 (5)

1st (1081 points)




19 (1)

2nd (696 points)



South Dakota


3rd (665 points)



South Dakota State


4th (593 points)



Western Illinois


5th (219 points)



Eastern Illinois


6th (205 points)



Summit League Preseason Swimmers and Divers to Watch

*as selected by league coaches


Aysia Leckie – Sophomore | Freestyle | Georgetown, Ontario

• Five career All-Summit League Honors

• Member of a 400-medley relay that finished first at the CSCAA Invitational with a time of 3:39.65

• Canadian Olympic Trials qualifier

Josie Valette – Junior | Butterfly/Freestyle | Boulder, Colo.

• Six career All-Summit League honors

• Broke the 2018 Summit League Championships record in the 200 fly with a time of 1:57.91

• 2016-17 College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-American Honorable Mention

Sammy Walker – Junior | Diving | Los Gatos, Calif.

• 2017-18 Summit League Women's Diver of the Championships

• 2017-18 All-Summit League honors in the 1-meter and 3-meter dives and 2016-17 All-Summit Honors in the 1-meter dive

• Three Summit League Diver of the Week honors in her career



Lauryn Schieffer – Freshman | Backstroke/Freestyle | Altoona, Iowa

• Three-time state qualifier in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle

• Qualified for the USA Futures three years in multiple vents

• Posted multiple top-3 finishes at the USA State Long Course and Short

Bethany Gatlin – Freshman | Butterfly/Individual Medley | Ashburn, Va.

• Three-time conference champion, two-time state runner-up

• Qualified for state in the 50, 100, 200 free, 100 fly, 200 IM, 200 and 400 free relays and 200 medley relay as a senior

• Member of the school record-breaking 200 and 400 free relay teams

Emma Weis – Freshman | Diving | Kearney, Neb.

• Finished third at the Iowa State diving meet as a senior in high school

• Broke six diving school records as a senior

• Qualified for state and won conference as a junior


South Dakota

Sabrina Sabadeanu – Junior | Backstroke/Individual Medley | Commerce City, Colo.

• Has earned six All-Summit League honors

• 2017-18 Summit League Academic Honor Roll

• School's record holder for the 100 back (55.01), 200 back (1:59.76) and 200 IM (2:05.78), 200 IM (2:04.42)

Morgan Holt – Senior | Fly/Free | Clermont, Fla.

• 2017-18 Summit League Commissioner's List of Academic Excellence and member of the Summit League Academic Honor Roll

• Finished in the top five in 15 events

• Clocked a 2:03.27 in the 200 fly to break the school record

Haley Pederson – Sophomore | Diving | West Fargo, N.D.

• Earned All-Summit League honors as a freshman

• Placed in the top five 17 times

• Summit League Academic Honor Roll


South Dakota State

Richelle Bruyckere – Junior | Freestyle/Butterfly | Parksville, British Columbia

• Three career All-Summit League honors

• Three-time Summit League Academic Honor Roll

• Hold school records in the 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle and the 400

Rori Connors – Sophomore | Freestyle | Henderson, Nev.

• Summit League Academic Honor Roll

• Third best time in school history in the 500 freestyle and the second-best time in the 1,000 freestyle

• Finished third in 1,650 freestyle, fourth in 500 freestyle and 10th in the 200 freestyle at the Summit League Championships 

Quincee Simonson – Sophomore | Diving | Fargo, N.D.

• Summit League Academic Honor Roll

• Ranks fifth in the 1-meter and sixth in the 3-meter on the SDSU top 10 list

• Finished 11th in 1-meter at the Summit League Championship


Western Illinois

Erica Hagen – Senior | Breaststroke/Sprint Free | Lisle, Ill.

• 2017-18 Summit League All-League honoree and 2016-17 Academic All-League honoree

• Became the first Western Illinois women's swimmer since 2010 to finish in the top three of an individual event at The Summit League Championships (third, 100-IM, 57.84)

• Holds school records in both the 100 breaststroke and the 200 breaststroke


Eastern Illinois

Jessica Harris – Freshman | Individual Medley | Almonte, Springs, Fla.

• District and conference champion in the 200 IM as a senior in high school

• Helped her school win the district championship

• Member of the National Honor Society


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Through 36 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 115,000 at nine institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Purdue Fort Wayne (Purdue University Fort Wayne), the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced 12 NCAA Champions along with over 100 Academic All-Americans, and nearly 125 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit website