The relay of team of Krista Koenen (Fy., Willmar, Minn.), Emily Degnan (Fy., Hibbing, Minn.), Emma Espel (Fy., Fargo, N.D.) and Laura Watkins (Jr., Fargo, N.D.) opened the Minnesota Challenge with a third-place in the 200 freestyle relay and wrapped it up with a runner-up finish in the 400 freestyle relay to lead the Gustavus women’s swimming and diving contingent at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center last weekend.
The Gusties were one of four Division III schools entered in the women’s field.
Koenen, Degnan, Espel and Watkins registered a 1:41.65 clocking in the 200 free relay, while adding a 3:43.76 time in the 400 free relay. The quartet also finished 10th (25.90),12th (25.95), 11th (25.91) and ninth (25.65), respectively, in the 50 freestyle.
That was just part of a big weekend for Espel, who also teamed with Sara Pfau (So., Bismarck, N.D.), Liz Hartman (Jr., Eagan, Minn.) and Erica Hickey (Fy., Great Falls, Mont.) to place third in the 800 free relay (8:18.60) and with Danielle Harms (Fy., Sun Prairie, Wis.), Danielle Gergen (So., Hastings, Minn.) and Sunny Sonnabend (So., Prior Lake, Minn.) to place eighth in the 400 medley relay (4:26.85). Espel also recorded one of two team-high individual finishes with a sixth-place finish in the 100 freestyle (56.21).
Pfau and Katie Haynes (Sr., Duluth, Minn.) each figured in a total of four top-nine relay finishes and had a seventh-place individual finish. The pair teamed up with Koenen and Hickey to finish ninth in the 200 medley relay (1:56.65) and with Emily Amundsen (Fy., Plymouth, Minn.) and Britney Manthey (Fy., Rochester, Minn.) to finish seventh in the 200 freestyle relay (1:44.46). Pfau also swam to a sixth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay (3:55.55) with Hickey, Manthey and Katie Leaf (Fy., Center City, Minn.). Haynes finished one spot ahead in the 400 free relay, placing fifth (3:51.24) with teammates Hartman, Haynes and Yoshi Ludwig (Jr., St. Peter, Minn.). Haynes also teamed with Manthey, Hickey and Leanna Marking (Fy., Grand Rapids, Minn.) to finish eighth in the 800 free relay (8:44.70).
Haynes finished seventh in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:16.82, with Pfau finishing tenth with a 2:18.23 clocking. Pfau picked up her seventh-place finish in the 200 breaststroke in a time of 2:38.20.
The team of Watkins, Allyson Sheldrew (So., Princeton, Minn.), Britta Nelson (Fy., Morrison, Colo.) and Amy Erickson (Fy., Shorewood, Minn.) recorded a sixth-place finish in the 400 medley relay with a time of 4:26.85.
Meg Chida (Jr., Rochester, Minn.) picked up the other sixth-place individual finish with a 4:57.74 clocking in the 400 individual medley.
The Gusties are off next weekend in preparation for the following weekend’s Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.