The Gustavus men’s swimming and diving team recently claimed its fifth consecutive Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Title and 19th in school history. The Gusties recorded six individual event titles and three relay event titles to compile 867 points to finish 65 points ahead of second place Saint Olaf College. Gustavus sophomore Ben Hanson (Minnetonka, Minn.) won three individual events and anchored a winning relay team and was named the MIAC Male Swimmer of the Meet for the second consecutive year. The conference meet took place at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center in Minneapolis, Minn. February 16-18.
Gustavus had 13 different individuals earn all-conference honors. Junior Scott Hagemeyer (Willmar, Minn.) led the way, picking up honors in seven events, while junior Brian Amundson (Blaine, Minn.) and freshman Matt Stewart (Burnsville, Minn.) each captured honors in six events. Hanson, the only Gustie to post wins in multiple individual events, pulled down honors in five events.
Hanson repeated as MIAC champion in the 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle and 1650-yard freestyle, claiming all-conference honors in each. Hanson recorded a NCAA automatic qualfying time of 4:32.46 in the 500-yard freestyle, which set both a school and a meet record. The sophomore also posted provisional qualifying marks in the 200-yard freestyle and 1650-yard freestyle. Hanson’s time of 15:54.62 in the 1650-yard freestyle set a new Gustavus record and a MIAC meet record, while his time of 1:41.64 in the 200-yard freestyle broke his own school record.
Hagemeyer claimed his third consecutive MIAC championship in the 50-yard freestyle, but was unable to defend his two other titles. Entering as the two-time defending champion in both the 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke, Hagemeyer was edged at the wall in both races. Hagemeyer’s winning time of 20.88 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle bettered the NCAA provisional qualifying mark, as did his times of 45.88 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle and 51.92 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke.
Stewart earned all-conference individual honors with second place finishes in the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly, as well as a third-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly. Stewart posted NCAA provisional qualifying times in all three races, finishing second to Hanson in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:36.48, while touching the wall just behind St. Olaf’s Nelson Westby in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 51.16 seconds. Stewart also finished third behind teammate Connor Ziegler (So., Sauk Rapids, Minn.) in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:54.45.
Ziegler, who won the 200-yard butterfly in a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:53.73, also picked up all-MIAC honors with a third-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 51.45 seconds. Ziegler’s time in the 200-yard butterfly set a new Gustavus record.
Amundson posted all-conference finishes and NCAA provisional qualifying times in both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle. Amundson finished third in both races with clockings of 21.10 seconds and 45.90 seconds, respectively.
Senior Jeff Pearson (Woodbury, Minn.) set a school record and provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships with a winning time of 1:52.51 in the 200-yard backstroke. Pearson also posted a NCAA provisional qualfying time in the 100-yard backstroke with a third-place time of 52.33 seconds.
Junior Josh Waylander (Montevideo, Minn.) and freshmen Dave Pearson (Woodbury, Minn.), Billy Cuevas (Woodbury, Minn.) and Tyler Wakefield (Hutchinson, Minn.) also earned all-conference honors. Cuevas and Wakefield finished 2-3 behind Hanson in the 200-yard freestyle as the Gusties swept the top four position and all-league honors in the event. Cuevas posted a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:43.22, while Wakefield touched the wall with a 1:44.02 clocking. Waylander added a third-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke (1:56.53), while Pearson finished third in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:13.49).
Gustavus earned all-conference honors in all five relays events, claiming event titles in three. The team of Hagemeyer, Amundson, Wakefield and freshman Clement Auyeung (North Mankato, Minn.) won the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:22.77. The winning time broke the school and MIAC record the Gusties set at last year’s MIAC Championships and automatically qualified the relay team for the NCAA Championships. The team of Hagemeyer, Amundson, Wakefield and Stewart won the 400-freestyle relay in a new school and MIAC record time of 3:03.72. This relay also automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships.
The team of Hanson, Stewart, Cuevas, and sophomore Greg Pokorski (Rochester, Minn.) captured the title in the 800-yard freestyle relay with a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 6:50.40. The time also broke school and meet records.
Amundson, Hagemeyer, Hanson and sophomore Connor Ziegler (Sauk Rapids, Minn.) finished second in the 200-yard medley relay with a NCAA provisional qualfying time of 1:33.89, while the team of Hagemeyer, Amundson, Stewart and sophomore Nick DeLeeuw (Hutchinson, Minn.) added a second-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay with a time of 3:30.03.
Gustavus’ fifth consecutive conference title is an accomplishment that has only been achieved one other time in school history. The Gusties claimed six straight conference titles from 1954-1960. The season is not over for Gustavus as ten swimmers have qualified fir the 2006 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships. The swimmers include Brian Amundson, Clement Auyeung, Billy Cuevas, Scott Hagemeyer, Ben Hanson, Greg Pokorski, Jeff Pearson, Matt Stewart, Tyler Wakefield and Connor Ziegler. The championships will be hosted by Carleton College at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis March 16-18.