The Gustavus men’s swimming and diving team came up five points short of posting its sixth consecutive MIAC title as St. Olaf claimed top honors in the closest finish in the 77-year history of the MIAC Swimming Championships (843.5 to 838.5). The Gusties claimed three individual event titles on the final day including Skylar Davis (1650 free), Scott Hagemeyer and Brian Amundson (tie – 100 freestyle), Matt Stewart (200 butterfly). The team also recorded a first place finish in the 400 freestyle relay.
The Gusties and Oles battled back-and-forth throughout the final day. Gustavus took a slim eight-point lead (785.5 to 777.5) after taking five of the top eight spots in the 200 butterfly. With only the three-meter diving and the 200 free relay remaining. The Oles outscored Gustavus 40 to 13 in three-meter diving giving them 817.5 points to 798.5 for the Gusties. The 19-point lead meant that even if the Gusties won the final event, the 400 free relay, and the Oles placed eighth, St. Olaf would win the meet by a point. Gustavus did win the 400 free relay, but the Oles placed sixth. The Gusties gained 14 points on St. Olaf in the relay, but the Oles won the title by five points.
Despite the near miss in their search for a sixth straight title, the Gusties had a big final day. Gustavus placed four swimmers in the top eight of the first event of the evening, the 1650 freestyle. Skylar Davis won the event in a school and meet record time of 15:51.29. Davis’ time also automatically qualified him for the NCAA Championships. Ben Hanson placed second with a NCAA B Provisional mark of 16:12.54. Greg Pokorski placed fifth (16:48.66), and Tyler Wakefield finished seventh (17:11.77).
Josh Waylander and Pokorski kept the Gusties in the hunt for the title with second and sixth place finishes, respectively in the 200 backstroke. Waylander posted a time of 1:55.56 and Pokorski finished with a time of 1:57.60.
Seniors Scott Hagemeyer and Brian Amundson tied for first place in the 100 freestyle when they both touched the timing pad in :45.69. The time was a B Provisional qualifying mark.
One of the highlights of the final day for Gustavus was the 200 butterfly where the Gusties placed five swimmers in the top eight. Matt Stewart finished first in a school and meet record time of 1:51.19. The time also automatically qualified Stewart for the NCAA Championships. Conner Ziegler placed second (1:52.62) and Billy Cuevas finished fourth (1:55.62). Ross Elenkovich (2:02.82) and Kevin Horn (2:05.31) rounded out the scoring for Gustavus finishing seventh and eighth, respectively.
The Gusties finished out the meet in style as the 400 free relay team of Matt Stewart, Ben Hanson, Brian Amundson, and Scott Hagemeyer finished first in a school and meet record time of 3:02.21. The time also bettered the NCAA automatic qualifying mark.
Coach Jon Carlson and his squad will now wait to see which swimmers are selected for the NCAA Championships which will take place March 15-17 in Houston, Texas. Three swimmers and two relay teams have automatically qualified for the national meet. The individual swimmers are Matt Stewart (in the 200 free, the 500 free, the 100 fly, and the 200 fly), Scott Hagemeyer (in the 50 free), and Skylar Davis (in the 1650 free). The two relay teams are the 200 free (Amundson, Jonah Winter, Stewart, and Hagemeyer) and the 400 free relay (Stewart, Hanson, Amundson, Hagemeyer).