Marshall grad shines for South Dakota State swimming team

Having a hand in setting six school records in three days at the Summit League Championships, Kaylin Caron couldn’t have imagined a much better way to wrap up her junior season on the South Dakota State University swimming team.

The Marshall graduate had a part in breaking two SDSU records for three straight days between Feb. 21 and Feb. 23 at the conference meet hosted by Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., and helped her Jackrabbit squad finish in fourth in the seven-team competition. Swimming in the sprint events, Caron set new school marks in three individual races and was a part of three record-setting relays.

It was a standout individual performance for the former Tiger, but she said what gave her the most satisfaction was seeing her SDSU teammates succeed.

“When I look back it’s on just how happy I was and to see everyone getting their best times,” Caron said. “It’s just that atmosphere of having fun and seeing everyone accomplish what they want to achieve. Personally, I would like to end on this year’s note but I know next year will be just as fun, if not more fun.”

Caron, who was named the team MVP for the Marshall swim team from 2005-09, opened her assault on the SDSU record books Feb. 21 by winning the consolation championship of the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.91 seconds. She also swam a leg of SDSU’s 200 freestyle relay, which finished fourth with a school record time of 1:35.41.

The Jackrabbits moved up from fifth to fourth in the team standings the next day as Caron again played a part in two records. She finished fourth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 56.07 seconds, which broke the school record she set earlier in the prelims. She also swam in SDSU’s 400 medley relay, which took third place (3:50.81).

The final day was icing on the cake for Caron, who finished second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 51.16 seconds. She had broken the school record in that event the previous year at the conference championships. Caron joined three other teammates to cap off the championships with a second-place finish in the 400 freestyle with a record time of 3:27.55, more than a second faster than the previous school mark.

Caron said she had the records in the back of her mind, but her ultimate goal was to do whatever she could to help the Jackrabbits move up in the standings.

“I think with swimming you always have to be confident and always have a positive attitude,” she said. “Swimming is a lot about the mental aspect of it and you have to think about what you’re going to go out and do for your team. Even though it’s an individual sport, you just have to focus about scoring those points for your team.”

Although she had a part in setting six school records, Caron didn’t have one first-place finish at the meet. She said it was an incredibly fast field this season.

“It was quite interesting because I remember fourth place in the 50 freestyle, which I swam on Day 1, fourth place was a 24 (seconds) and this year ninth place was a 23 (seconds),” Caron said. “I ended up in ninth place. It’s crazy how much faster it’s gotten this year, but every year is going to be faster and you just have to keep that focus at the end of the year when you get to that conference meet.”

Though she said she would have been fine with ending her career with her memorable performance from last week, Caron does have one more year of swimming left.

“I think coming into college for swimming it’s not so much about individual accomplishments, it’s about the people you meet, the experiences you have and the coaching,” said Caron, who today is embarking on a spring break trip to Canada with three friends from the swim team. “I just want to thank my coaches and teammates because they’ve pushed me to where I am.”