While pouring over the 2017 edition of Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges, Jacob Huffer was looking for a few things in particular.
First, he wanted a small, private school. Second, he wanted the college to offer communications. And third, he wanted to continue swimming after high school.
Those were the criteria. Where in the country he ended up didn’t matter too much to him.
He quickly got the list down to 20 schools. And after some time, he settle on Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.
“It worked out the best,” he said. “They gave me the best scholarship and it was the best options for communications.”
Huffer, who was a standout back-stroker and four-year letter winner for coach Craig Brown and the Peninsula High swim team, wanted to go somewhere small.
“The bigger schools were too much,” Huffer said. “I wanted a 1-on-1 connection with professors.”
Swimming for the Division III program was a bonus. The Vikings compete in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW).
“I already have a great connection with the coach and the team,” Huffer said. “There were times that were obviously close enough to mine where I knew I’d have a chance of being there and knowing I’d improve tremendously. I’ve already have been told by (coach Dan Lloyd) that I have a lot of potential that he sees for me. So just knowing I’d be able to improve myself but also not be the best right away, by any means.”
Augustana has an enrollment of 2,500 students and is adjacent to the Mississippi River.
“The campus is really cool,” Huffer said. “Everything is in walking distance but still spread out. There are a lot of cool older buildings, also.”
Huffer will continue competing in the backstroke in college and hopefully will work his way into some of the team’s relays. He’ll head to Illinois on Aug. 17.
“I’m excited about the swimming, improving myself as a swimmer and leader,” Huffer said. “And just excited about the great education, well-rounded education.”
Huffer joins a Viking program that owns eight CCIW championships. Augustana, entering its fourth season under the guidance of Lloyd in 2017-18, finished 4-2 in dual meets this year and fourth at the CCIW championship. Lloyd also leads the Viking women’s program.