Ohio State graduate Sarah Turchanik will swim at the University of Denver for her 5th year of NCAA eligibility next season, with an unexpected source making the connection to the Pioneers.
Turchanik, a native of North Royalton, Ohio, swam for the Buckeyes for four seasons, specializing in butterfly an IM events.
She says that Denver’s graduate programs stood out to here even before she knew she was going to swim there for her bonus season of COVID eligibility.
“When I originally looked at grad schools, Denver’s Masters degree in Sport and Performance Psychology really stood out to me for all the opportunities they have academically and clinically,” Turchanik said.
But it was two of her current coaches Mike Hulme and Brian Schrader who helped connect her with the swimming program.
“When I started exploring the idea of swimming for my 5th year, I had really good connections with the coaching staff as two of my current coaches, Mike Hulme and Brian Schrader, used to coach there and they really helped me out a lot with the process of connecting with Denver’s coaches.”
Together at Denver, Hulme and Schrader built the swimming & diving program into a mid-major superpower that dominated the Summit League for years.
Hulme left on his own in 2016 to return to Ohio State, his alma mater, after a season in Denver, but Schrader departed in 2019 under a shroud of mystery that included him taking a sabbatical. He jumped around to various jobs until landing at Ohio State prior to this season.
But Schrader, in spite of how his time at Denver ended, still has strong ties to the program: the current head coach Alicia Hicken-Franklin was an assistant at Denver for 16 seasons, including most of Schrader’s career there. In 2016, she was nominated for the CollegeSwimming.com Assistant Coach of the Year award with the Pioneers before returning to her alma mater Minnesota as an assistant.
The Pioneers had some hiccups when they lost a lot of swimmers after a suspension was handed out for violating program COVID-19 rules, but they are still among the most successful mid-major programs in the country. Last season, redshirt senior Natalie Arky qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 100 back, 100 fly, and 200 back, finishing a best of 40th place in the 200 back.
Both teams also won the 2023 Summit League Championships – a 10th straight title for the women and a 9th win in 10 seasons for the men.
“When I took my official visit back in September I fell in love with the city, the school, and all of the history within the swim team,” Turchanik said. “The team and coaching staff were amazing and super welcoming and helped make my decision super easy! I owe so much gratitude to everyone that has helped me along the way and supported my decisions, regardless of what that may have been. I’m so excited to be able to continue my love for swimming for 1 more year and to explore all of the new opportunities I will be exposed to in Denver!”
Turchanik will immediately have a big impact for the Pioneers, and also pick up a very good training partner: Mia Moulden led the team in the 200 fly last year in 1:57.97 and won the Summit League title as just a sophomore.
The Pioneers also return the conference champion in the 200 IM (Jessica Maeda – 2:00.59) and 400 IM (Mina Ada Solaker – 4:17.94) from last season.
Turchanik’s best times would have won two titles and scored 57 points at last year’s Summit League meet.
Best Times in Yards:
- 100 fly – 55.11
- 200 fly – 1:59.20
- 200 IM – 1:59.23
- 400 IM – 4:21.03
A positive addition to their team!