When Brianna Back made a trip to Aberdeen, S.D. to visit Northern State University, he knew right away it was the place where she wanted to continue her swimming career.
“The girls on the team were all very nice and welcoming, and I knew right away that this team was the right fit for me,” said Back, a senior at Monona Grove High School, who signed a national letter of intent Nov. 11 to join the Northern State University women’s swimming team.
Back has qualified for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Division 2 girls state swimming tournament four times and since her freshman year, has been one of the Silver Eagles’ most consistent and reliable swimmers.
Back will perform for Northern State as a freestyle and individual medley swimmer.
Her personal bests in high school include a 25.44 in the 50 freestyle, 53.96 in the 100 freestyle, 1:57.30 in the 200 freestyle and 2:13.70 in the 200 individual medley.
“Brianna is going to be an outstanding addition to our team,” Northern State women’s swimming coach Nicole Monanian said. “She will make an immediate impact on our sprint style events, individual medley events, and relays. I can’t wait to add her to the pack.”
Back is also eager to join the team and get to know her teammates.
“This team is a very tight knit group, and they have many great swimmers working very hard everyday,” she said. “They swim at the NCAA Division II level and that was exactly what I was looking for. They are interested in having me join their team because I will make a great asset, athletically and personally, to this group of individuals.”
Northern State University competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), which includes schools throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.
The 2019-20 women’s swimming team was 1-13 overall and finished seventh out of eight teams in the NSIC conference tournament at Bismarck, N.D. Thus far, the Wolves have not competed in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Monanian has coached the Wolves for four seasons. She graduated from Providence College after participating on its women’s swimming team from 2010-13.
Back said a number of mentors and coaches were responsible for her getting the opportunity to swim at the college level.
Starting in elementary school, she participated in the Badger Aquatics Club where her coaches included Drew Walden, Jacob Johnson and Connie Martin.
Other influences included Amber Earlywine, her first high school swimming coach at MG, and current coach Kelly Pastika.
Back also credits her high school assistant coaches Chris Tatsuguchi and Mae Bretl with helping her perform better in the water.
Back, who is the daughter of Linda and Brian Back, said she will major in biology at Northern State and pursue a career in the medical field.