Inducted February 16, 2002
Mike Ablard was a four-year standout for the SMS swimming Bears from 1981 to 1985, swimming for coaches Barry Hartwyk, Kent Kirchner and Jack Steck. A native of Columbus, Neb., Ablard’s specialty was the breaststroke and he was among the best in the region during a career which spanned the SMS transition from Division II to Division I and into the Mid-Continent Conference. He helped SMS to Mid-Continent championships in 1982, 1983 and 1984 and the Bears finished just four points behind Western Illinois for the league title when Ablard was a senior in 1985. He collected league championships in the 100-yard breaststroke all four years, won the 200-yard event his last three seasons, and swam on the winning medley relay team as a sophomore and junior for a total of nine conference titles. He also won both breaststroke races at the Midwest Championship meet three years in a row. The Bears’ top dual meet season during Ablard’s career was in 1984 when SMS was 7-1-1. He was named the team’s top freshman his first season at SMS, was an SMS co-captain as a senior and was named the Bears’ most valuable swimmer three times in four years. Ablard remains the only SMS swimmer ever to participate in an NCAA Division I championship, swimming in the 100-yard breaststroke in the national meet in Austin, Texas, as a senior. At the time he graduated, Ablard held school records, Hammons Student Center pool records and Mid-Continent records in both breaststroke races and the medley relay.