The Gustavus women’s swimming and diving team used overall team depth to pull away from favorite St. Olaf on the final day and win the 2007 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championship. The title was the program’s first since 2004, but the third in the past six years. Gustavus outscored the second place Oles 789 to 634. Carrie Gundersen (1650 free), Christie O’Conner (200 back), and Erica Hickey (200 fly) claimed event titles on Saturday night.
Carrie Gunderson got Gustavus off to a fast start on the final day of the three-day championship event placing first in the 1650 freestyle in a school record time of 17:44.55. Gundersen, who also met the NCAA B Provisional mark, broke her own school record by over :16 seconds. Maggie Luke finished fifth (18:28.83) and Larkin Davis placed eighth (18:36.89).
Christie O’Conner gave the Gusties two titles in the first two events as she took top honors in the 200 backstroke in a school record time of 2:09.35. She also met the NCAA B Provisional mark. Sara Pfau placed third in a time of 2:14.27.
After Jonna Berry posted a sixth place finish in the 100 freestyle (54.57), Sarah Koepp finished second in the 200 breaststroke with a school record time of 2:25.28. Maggie Hansvick placed sixth with a time of 2:31.99.
The defining moment of the final day for the Gusties came in the 200 butterfly as five Gustavus swimmers finished in the top six allowing the team to eliminate any chance for St. Olaf to claim the title. The Gusties took the top four spots in the race led by Erica Hickey who finished first in a time of 2:15.45. She was followed by Yoshi Ludwig in second (2:15.48), Maggie Luke in third (2:16.91), Emma Espel in fourth (2:17.20), and Britta Nelson in sixth (2:17.58).
Gustavus closed out the meet with a third place finish in the 400 free relay. The team of Carrie Gundersen, Janae Piehl, Jonna Berry, and Sara Pfau recorded a time of 3:36.19.
Coach Jon Carlson and his squad will now wait to see which swimmers and relay teams qualify for the NCAA Championships which will take place March 8-10 in Houston, Texas.