Mitchell's local swim team to host Corn Palace Invitational today through SundayShea Patrick gives a lot of credit to the Mitchell Aquatic Club for where he is today. Now on a scholarship for the South Dakota State University swim team, Patrick started competing in the sport when he was 9 years old. In 2006, the MAC — Mitchell’s local swim team — hosted its first outdoor event, then called The Corn Palace Record Breakers at the Mitchell Aquatic Center.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Shea Patrick gives a lot of credit to the Mitchell Aquatic Club for where he is today.
Now on a scholarship for the South Dakota State University swim team, Patrick started competing in the sport when he was 9 years old.
In 2006, the MAC — Mitchell’s local swim team — hosted its first outdoor event, then called The Corn Palace Record Breakers at the Mitchell Aquatic Center.
“The first and second meets that Mitchell had outdoors were huge,” said Patrick, who has 18 career collegiate wins and will be a senior next year for the Jackrabbits. “It gave us a chance to broaden the competition swimming outdoors.”
Today, Mitchell is hosting its first of two outdoor swim meets this summer. About 270 swimmers will take the pool at the Mitchell Aquatic Center for a three-day meet that starts at 6 p.m. today, now named the Corn Palace Invitational.
Patrick said the MAC had a big influence on his life. He knows he’s not the only one, either.
In the last three years, MAC has sent 10 swimmers to college. Since the team has started keeping records in 2004, there have been 15 swimmers who have gone on to compete collegiately.
MAC head coach Kyle Margheim, who’s on his second year of coaching the team and formerly swam for the program, believes it’s swim meets like this weekend’s that help make the program strong.
“Before I started coaching here, I heard about what a great program it is and how hard the parents and previous coaches have worked to give the kids everything they can,” Margheim said. “We have 75 to 80 percent of our graduating seniors go on to swim at college, and most of the time it’s on a Division I scholarship. That’s an exciting statistic for Mitchell Aquatic Club.”
Patrick is one of three Mitchell natives currently swimming for SDSU. Patrick swims for the men’s team, while Trina Young and Andrea Budahl — who holds four school records — swim for the women’s squad.
Budahl’s older sister, Katie (Budahl) Price competed in the Olympic time trials earlier this week and will again today, and she was a member of the MAC when she was growing up.
MAC can also claim two other in-state Division I swimmers. At the University of South Dakota, McKenzie Shroyer is on the women’s team and Cody Horton is on the men’s team.
“For me, it was huge being able to swim here,” said Horton, who graduated the same year as Patrick. “Traveling to swim meets is really hard, because there are so many expenses. … Swimming at meets is what makes you better. You learn how to race and compete with people. You can’t learn that in practice.
“The Mitchell Aquatic Club was a great experience for me.”
The other two MAC swimmers competing in Division I are twins Reva and Rhennetta Bork at the University of Northern Iowa. There are also swimmers who competed with MAC in Division II and III.
Before next year’s graduation, Margheim expects three or four upcoming seniors to sign college swimming scholarships.
“I’m always talking to my older swimmers and asking them if they’re interested in swimming in college,” he said.
Two weeks into his freshman year at SDSU, Patrick walked-on to the swim team. He said it’s a decision he’s glad he made.
“I get about 25 percent on my swimming scholarship …” said Patrick, who also gets an academic scholarship. “It knocks my college down to almost nothing.”
Patrick said he would recommend anyone interested in swimming to join the MAC if they want to pursue the sport later in life.
“Colleges are always looking for swimmers,” he said. “(The MAC) does a great job and gets you prepared.”
In this weekend’s meet, there are five classifications of age groups, and MAC will have about 45 swimmers competing. The meet today runs to about 8:30 p.m.
The meet starts back up at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. It will conclude at 6 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. There are teams from Sioux Falls, Brookings, Aberdeen, Yankton, Marshall, Minn., Madison, Watertown, Webster and Huron.
Margheim said his team has a lot of strong competitors at every age group. There will be no team points kept and swimmers are looking to qualify for the state meet, which is being held July 27-29 in Rapid City.
Mitchell is also hosting the B/C Championships meet July 20-22. Margheim said the meet will be held at the Mitchell Aquatic Center and will give competitors one final chance to compete for the state meet.