College Swimming and Diving

Jackrabbit men come in fourth at conference championships, women fifth


MINNEAPOLIS — Denilson Cyprianos and Jack Ellison each recorded top-three individual finishes and the South Dakota State men’s swimming and diving team broke four school records Saturday to close out competition at the 2024 Summit League Swimming and Diving Championships contested at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.

Cyprianos claimed a runner-up finish in the 200-yard backstroke, clocking a time of 1 minute, 45.64 seconds, which was good for an NCAA B-cut time. Dylan Wright of Denver won the race in 1:42.86.

Two other Jackrabbits swam in the 200 backstroke B final as Aiden Carstensen claimed the top spot and ninth place overall in 1:48.16. Senior Marcus Benson placed 14th in 1:50.16.

Ellison opened the night by registering a third-place finish in the 1,650 freestyle in record-setting fashion. Ellison’s time of 15:37.84 was nearly 13 seconds faster than the previous school record of 15:50.77 set by Chris Angerhofer in 2016. Ellison’s 1,000-yard split time of 9:28.37 also set a new Jackrabbit standard previously held by Angerhofer at 9:32.05 in 2016.

A sophomore from Omaha, Ellison finished the championships with four individual school records; he previously established new marks in the 400 individual medley and 500 freestyle.

Another Jackrabbit record fell in the 200 butterfly as Braxton McGrath improved on his own record in the event by .01 seconds, clocking a time of 1:48.20 that was good for fourth place. Three of his teammates swam in the 200 butterfly B Final with Austin Smith taking ninth (1:49.63), with Luke Nichols (1:52.53) and Bryan Wong (1:52.62) placing 11th and 12th, respectively.

The final SDSU record to be rewritten Saturday was in the final event of the championship as the 400 freestyle relay team of Rafael Negri, Cyprianos, Carstensen and Eric Anderson erased the previous record set a year ago. SDSU’s mark of 2:58.33 was good for fourth place.

Anderson also notched a fourth-place individual finish in the 100 freestyle with a time of 44.41 seconds. Sam Johnson was 12th for the Jackrabbits in 45.10 seconds and Rafael Negri finished 13th in 45.40 seconds.

Freshman Cody Vertin qualified for the A Final in the 200 breaststroke and placed eighth in 2:02.16.

The Jackrabbit men wrapped up the four-day competition with a fourth-place finish in the team race. Denver held off Lindenwood, 868-820, to repeat as league champion. South Dakota was third with 472 points, followed by SDSU with 427 points.


The South Dakota State women’s swimming and diving team concluded competition at the 2024 Summit League Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday night with a fifth-place finish in the team standings at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.

Three Jackrabbits swam in event championship finals Saturday night, including two in the 200-yard backstroke. Kelsey Kocon turned in a fifth-place finish with a time of 2 minutes, 1.55 seconds, while fellow senior Sianne Downes placed sixth in 2:02.10. Emma Walz competed in the consolation final and placed 14th in 2:05.28.

Freshman Gigi Hioki led three SDSU swimmers to place in the top 10 of the 1,650 freestyle, recording a seventh-place finish in 17:32.24. Fellow first-year swimmer Poppy Mead placed ninth in 17:44.95 and Zoey Ahrens recorded a 10th-place time of 17:49.60.

Mead came back later in the evening to post a ninth-place showing in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:06.69.

Placing 10th in the 200 breaststroke was Marissa Branham with a time of 2:19.94. Also earning points by swimming in consolation finals were Emma Bachelder, 12th in the 100 freestyle, 52.00 seconds and Jenna Currier, 15th in 52.15 seconds.

Bachelder, Kocon, Currier and Hioki closed the meet with a fifth-place mark of 3:26.35 in the 400 freestyle relay.

In the 3-meter diving competition, freshman Anna Mei Castro notched a 15th-place score of 212.00 points for six dives in the consolation round.

Denver repeated as Summit League champion with 980 points, out-distancing South Dakota with 719.5 points. The Jackrabbits tallied 331 points over the four-day competition.