The Gustavus men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams took part in the final day of competition at the Falcon Invitational hosted by UW-River Falls in the Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota Saturday, Dec. 3. No team scores were kept as the meet included Division I, II, and III teams from across the region.
Competing squads included St. Cloud State, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State, Minnesota State-Mankato, Minnesota State-Moorhead, Northern State, UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Oshkosh, Carleton College, St. Olaf, Saint John’s, Saint Benedict, and Luther.
“I’m very proud of how the team swam this weekend. In a meet like this where there is no team scoring, the swimmers try to swim to inspire each other. That happened all weekend,” said Head Coach Jon Carlson. “There were the athletes who were swimming fast that were obvious to everyone, such as Alissa Tinklenberg who got four NCAA B standard cuts (100 back, 200 back, 200 free relay, 400 free relay), but there were many more swimmers like Jill Rykken, who got lifetime bests in every event she swam, who were probably only noticed by our team. For only doing a short rest and allowing them to where fast suits, it was a very good, very fast weekend.”
Kelsey Lucia, Alissa Tinklenberg, and Katie Olson all recorded a finish inside the top-three on Saturday for the women’s team. Lucia swam a 52.86 in the 100 freestyle to take second place, and Olson finished in third behind Lucia in the same race with a time of 52.95. Olson also added a 14th place mark in the 100 butterfly (1:00.52). Tinklenberg continued her success in the backstroke by finishing runner-up in the 100 with a time of 58.37.
Steph Korba and Jennifer Strom rounded out the top individual female performers on day two. Korba swam to a ninth place finish in the 100 butterfly (59.15) and an 11th place mark in the 400 IM (4:50.12). Strom finished ninth in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:24.84.
The women’s relay teams continued to have great success after a pair of second place finishes in day one. The 400-free relay team consisting of Lucia, Sarah Hund, Olson, and Tinklenberg touched the wall in 3:31.83 to take second place. They were edged by South Dakota who won the race with a time of 3:31.10. Tinklenberg, Strom, Korba, and Lucia partnered to finish third in the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:48.61, rounding out the squad’s top finishers.
On the men’s side, Ross Larson and Billy Schultze both tallied top-10 marks. Larson swam a 54.61 in the 100 backstroke to place sixth, while Schultze took seventh in the 100 free with a time of 47.28 and 11th in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:10.80.
Matt Van Fossen came in 12th in the 100 butterfly after recording a time of 53.58, and Sam Olson-Anstett finished 13th behind him in the 100 fly with a time 53.72.
Larson, Schultze, Van Fossen, and Kurt Youngdahl went 1:36.60 to place seventh in the 200-medley relay, and Zac Solis, Ben Stewart, Youngdahl, and Schultze rounded out Gustavus’ top performers by teaming up to place ninth in the 400-free relay with a time of 3:15.19.
“The men had a very good weekend. We had a lot of “breakthrough” swims, and I think the team left the weekend really starting to believe in themselves, both individually and as a group. Of the many great swims we had this weekend, Ross Larson really stood out going season-best, and in many cases lifetime bests, in virtually everything he swam,” continued Carlson. “I’m very proud of the guys’ commitment to working on the small things such as turns and starts. These things that can bring out the best in their performances. I think they realized that those small things make a huge difference in their final times.”
The Gustavus men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will be in the pool next at the Citris Classic held in Mesa, Arizona over Christmas break, Dec. 26-Jan.2.