Swim & Dive splashes into 2019-20 campaign with crosstown matchup against USD


Photo courtesy of San Diego State Athletics

The SDSU Swim & Dive team huddles amidst competition during the 2018-19 season at the Aztec Aquaplex.

by Breven Honda, Staff Writer

San Diego State women’s swimming and diving is ready to kick off the 2019-20 season.

Coming off a Mountain West Championship, head coach Mike Shrader – the 2018-19 Mountain West Swimming Coach of the Year – said the team’s goal is to focus on being the best each athlete can be.

“I want each student-athlete, each swimmer and each diver to do their absolute best,” he said. “We are a practice-driven team. Each opportunity they have throughout the season, (I want them) being very supportive, like a family.”

During the offseason, the team continued to put their work in as they continue to train for this year.

“It was really great summer,” Shrader said. “It was highlighted by (senior) Courney Vincent in the 100 butterfly and (sophomore) Kristina Murphy in the 200 breatstroke qualifying for the Olympic trials.”

Shrader said the training this summer has helped the team elevate their game this season and they can not wait to get going.

“I think all of the girls are very experienced this summer about their training and I think they took it to a new level, as far as getting ready for the school season,” Shrader said. “They are excited about this year and ready to go and see if we can’t have another special season ”

Shrader said his seniors have been named to conference teams in the past, so he hopes to coach one of the best classes in program history this year.

“(This) is one of the best senior classes in the history of San Diego State and we won’t know until after the year, but it could be the best class in the history of San Diego State,” Schrader said. “It is very close to that now.”

Another underclassman that stood out last year was 2019 Mountain West Diver of the Year, sophomore Ximena Leuchega Gonzalez, who was the first freshman to win the award in conference history.

Shrader said he wants her, along with others, to get better as the season goes along.

“(Gonzalez) had a nice summer,” he said. “She was very mature and handled everything very well. We want her to do her very best. We want them all to get better from where we were last year. Some of them are going to improve a little, some are going to improve a lot and that’s the fun part about it.”

Shrader wants the team to be at ease as much as they can to work hard.

“We don’t put any pressure on them like last season to this season because last year’s team is different than this season,” he said. “We want them to be happy, fun-loving and relaxed at competitions. But, we are going to work hard.”

The Aztecs take a short trip to USD as they face the Toreros and UCLA for their first match of the season on Sept. 13 at 2 p.m.

Shrader said he can not wait for the season to start.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Shrader said. “This happens to be a swimming-only meet against USD and UCLA and it will be a great early season test to see where we are and how we step up against good competition.”

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