Minneapolis - The University of Minnesota Aquatic Center will again play host to one of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s most popular event as the 2012 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships prepare to return to Minneapolis this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16-18.
There will be a total of six sessions over the three days, with both a morning and an evening session each day. The morning sessions – each starting at 10:30 a.m. – will feature preliminary races and diving, followed by event finals each evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. Doors will open at 9 a.m. for each morning session and at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The doors for Saturday’s final session will open at 3 p.m.
The Gustavus women’s swimming and diving team will go for the three-peat at the 2012 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships. The Gusties enter this season’s conference meet winners of four of the last five MIAC Championships.
Gustavus returns to the Aquatic Center pool with 2011 All-Conference returners Serena Elthon (Sr., Faribault, Minn.), Steph Korba (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.), Kelsey Lucia (Jr., St. Cloud, Minn.), Sarah Hund (Jr., Willmar, Minn.), Alissa Tinklenberg (So., Willmar, Minn.), Laura Drake (So., Mendota Heights, Minn.), and Brogan Barr (So., Pueblo West, Colo.).
Alissa Tinklenberg, the 2011 MIAC Champion in the 1650 freestyle, ranks inside the top-six in eight different events according to the most recent top individual times in the MIAC put out on Feb. 7. Tinklenberg is the team’s top competitor in the distance freestyle and backstroke races. She ranks 1st in the 500 free (5:07.29) and third in the 1650 free (18:15.92), while turning in the top time in both the 100 (58.04) and 200 backstroke (2:05.44).
Kelsey Lucia and Steph Korba are Gustavus’ other two returning individual event champions from last season. Lucia will look to defend her title in the 50-free, ranking first with a time of 24.10 entering the event. She also ranks first in the 100 free with a time of 52.66. Korba, who took home gold in the 100 butterfly last year, returns as the team’s top butterflier. She ranks first in the 200 (2:11.14), second in the 100 (59.15). Korba will also look to supply points in the IM, ranking fourth in the 400 IM (4:50.12).
Other 2011 All-MIAC returners turning in top times leading up to the event include Sarah Hund in the 50 free (5th, 24.76), and Laura Drake in the 100 (4th, 1:09.05) and 200 breaststroke (6th, 2:35.54).
Rookies also expected to make a splash at their first MIAC Championships are Jennifer Strom (Rochester, Minn.) and Katie Olson (Zimmerman, Minn). Strom enters the meet as the swimmer to beat in both the 200 breaststroke (2:24.84) and 400 IM (4:42.98). She also ranks second in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.55) and third in the 500 free (5:17.00). Olson will look to score points in the freestyle sprints, ranking second in both the 100 (52.95) and 200 (1:56.52), and fourth in the 50 (24.43). Katie also has the second fastest time in the 200 IM (2:15.03) and ranks fifth in the 100 butterfly (1:00.65).
Other freestyle swimmers looking to make an impact in the distance races include Melissa Aune (St. Peter, Minn.), Beth Larson (Detroit Lakes, Minn.), and Megan Tuttle (Minnetonka, Minn.). Anna Eames (Hopkins, Minn.) currently ranks sixth in the 200 fly (2:18.36) and eighth in the 500 free (5:20.56). Hannah Crane rounds out the top-ranked swimmers with the fifth fastest time in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.23).
Gustavus divers looking to make an impact are Heather Funai (Lincolnwood, Ill.) and Alicia Alvarado (Willmar, Minn.). Funai has the sixth-best one-meter dive, while Alvarado ranks sixth on the three-meter.
Coming off a third place finish last season, the Gustavus men’s swimming and diving team is poised for a return to the podium in 2012. The Gusties have placed inside the top-three the past three seasons, finishing runner-up back-to-back years (2009 and 2010) since taking the title back in 2008.
Gustavus will rely on strong leadership from its upper-classmen and a big meet from its talented group of young swimmers. Senior captains Billy Schultze (Mankato, Minn.), Gunnar Teigen (Hartland, Wis.), and Matt Van Fossen (Albert Lea, Minn.) will lead the Gusties into this season’s conference meet.
Freestyle and breaststroke swimmer Billy Schultze enters the MIAC Championships coming off runner-up finishes in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke last season. Schultze ranks third in the 200 IM (1:58.97), fourth in the 200 breaststroke (2:10.80), and sixth in the 100 breaststroke (59.59) according to the most recent top individual times in the MIAC. He also ranks third in the 100 free (47.18) and sixth in the 200 free (1:46.30).
Gunnar Teigen will add depth in the distance freestyle and individual medley races, while Matt Van Fossen will look to provide points in the butterfly. Teigen is currently ranked eighth in the 1650 free (17:44.63) and fifth in the 400 IM (4:21.56). Van Fossen has recorded the fifth fastest 100 butterfly do date 53.11.
Frosh swimmers looking to make a splash in their first MIAC Championships include Ross Larson (Brookings, S.D.), Zac Solis (Centennial, Colo.), and Kurt Youngdahl (Wayzata, Minn.). Larson currently ranks seventh in the 500 free (4:51.35), and will look to score in the backstroke, ranking seventh in the 100 (54.39) and sixth in the 200 (1:59.59). Solis will provide competition in the individual medley and backstroke, ranking fourth in the 400 IM (4:21.56), sixth in the 200 IM (2:01.33), and fifth in the 200 back (1:59.51). Youngdahl rounds out the group, ranking fourth in the 50 free with a time of 21.84.
Sam Hanson enters the meet as Gustavus’ top diver. Hanson ranks third on the one-meter (239.75) and fourth on the three-meter (215.15).