Wow, this meet sure has been tiring so far! As the third and final day of the meet wears on, fatigue is really becoming a reality for all of us. Last night’s finals session didn’t finish until after 10:00 PM, so we got less sleep than we’d have liked. With that being said, the reason that everyone is so tired this morning is because we had so many great swims last night.
On the second night of the meet, the women really came alive by winning both relays and two individual events. Perhaps even more amazing than that is how close they came to winning every single event of the entire session. As you’ll find out below, the Gustie women were fractions of a second behind first in the three events that they didn’t get first place. The men also had an amazing night to put us within striking distance heading into our big day.
The evening session began with the women’s three meter diving finals. Gustavus’ own Brittani Matzke finished seventh on the boards. Just as with the men the night before, the diving finals occurred between the swimming warmups and first event. This differs from the morning, when diving prelims and swimming prelims occur simultaneously.
The swimming began with the women taking the MIAC title in the 200 Medley Relay in a record shattering performance. Carley Mosher, Maggie Hansvick, Stephanie Korba, and Sarah Hund combined to break both the meet record and conference record in the process of getting their NCAA B cut.
The men’s relay put up a very quick time to finish in third place, just a fraction of a second behind St. Olaf and a second behind first place St. Thomas. While looking at the results as I type this entry, I am shocked to discover just how close our guys came to St. Olaf. At the halfway point of the relay, only 1/100 of a second separated the two teams, with St. Olaf slightly out-pacing the Gusties late in the race.
Then came the 400 IM, which was very kind to both the men and women. Marnie Luke took the title in winning the finals heat by nearly two seconds and getting her NCAA B cut, while Quinn Arnold remained in 10th place and Mary Jo Behr moved up to 12th place.
Skylar Davis, Gunnar Teigen, and I all cheered the girls on from the deck around the diving well. Swimmers who compete in the finals heat at night always enter from the side immediately following the consolation heat as music plays loudly. I was so focused on the race that I honestly couldn’t tell you what song was playing as I took my place behind lane two between Gunnar and former Gustie Josh Seaburg.
The 400 IM is definitely not a race for the faint of heart, as it is a very grueling race with all four strokes. After the butterfly portion of the race, I noticed the three top swimmers of the event way ahead of me and told myself that I wasn’t going slow, just that they were going really really fast. Despite moving down one place in the finals, I was very happy with my sixth place finish as it was the highest individual place I’ve ever gotten at Conference.
Skylar and Gunnar had excellent swims, with both dropping time and Skylar getting his NCAA B cut. Skylar ended up in second place and Gunnar finished in eighth. As we get to the part of the meet where every point counts, John Rice and Andrew Michelson came up big in the consolation heat of the 400 IM. John won the heat with a drop of over seven seconds and a time that would have placed him fourth had he been in the finals heat, while Andrew dropped over three seconds to finish in 13th place.
The 200 Free saw the women experience their first defeat of the night, with Carrie Gunderson getting out-touched by 5/100 of a second on the last stroke of a very exciting race. She posted an amazing time, less than one tenth of a second away from her NCAA A cut. Jonna Berry finished in eighth while Dajana Vidovic won the consolation heat and Sarah Hund finished in 15th place.
The men’s 200 Free provided a race for first that was nearly as exciting, with Whitaker Davis’ comeback falling just short as he finished in second with an NCAA B cut. Other than two St. Johns swimmers switching places, the entire finals heat remained in the same order as prelims, meaning that Ben Stewart stayed in sixth place. In the consolation heat, Wes Jones moved up into 12th place, Sam Defranco moved up to 14th place, and Peter Roth remained in 16th place.
The 100 Back provided more drama for the women as Carley Mosher missed first place by 1/100 of a second while getting her NCAA A cut. With her time, Carley broke her own team record in the event and achieved a time that is over two seconds faster than the record that existed when the season began. The consolation heat remained in exactly the same order, with Ally Hannemann, Quinn Arnold, and Serena Elthon placing 10th, 11th, and 14th, respectively.
For the men, Paul Kirihara held off a late charge by a pair of competitors to finish in third place with an NCAA B Cut. The consolation heat remained in the same order, meaning that Zach Nachtsheim placed 12th. Despite the event having one of the smallest representation of Gusties, we were pleased with Paul and Zach’s performances.
The 100 Breastroke followed, with a third straight thriller on the women’s side. Anika Erickson picked up her NCAA B cut but was out-touched by 13/100 of a second to finish in second place with teammate Maggie Hansvick right behind in third place.
The men’s 100 Breast provided two extremely close races, with Billy Schultze taking first in the event and David Kramer taking the consolation heat for 9th place. David won a heat in which the top four finishers were within a second of each other, and Billy’s race came down to the final stroke as Billy went from third to first on the finish. At this point, the fans and swimmers were clearly losing their voices as the close races took their toll on the vocal chords of our cheering section.
In the 100 Fly, Stephanie Korba won the event by nearly one second and capturing her NCAA B cut as she immediately distanced herself from the pack of competitors. Matt Van Fossen finished another tight race for the men in third place with Paul Kirihara capturing eighth place. Lance Switzer moved up to 12th place in the consolation heat.
The 800 Free Relay provided a positive end to the night for both the men and women. The Gustie women won the event by over seven seconds while setting a new meet record. Meanwhile, the men captured second place after passing St. Johns and St. Thomas in the back half of the race. The night ended with the women up by a solid 70 points over Carleton with a score of 472, while the men faced a nine point deficit to St. Thomas despite scoring 453 points through two days. The final day will prove to be pivotal in the women putting away a Conference title and the men coming back to attempt to overtake St. Thomas.
The third day began with yet another early wake-up call, and another team meeting. As usual, the meeting was pretty low key with some jokes being made, but the mood turned serious as Jon told us that “the third day is what makes a team a championship team.” This pumped the team up, and we headed over to the pool.
Some highlights of the morning included Anika Erickson’s lights-out 200 Breast in which she beat the next closest swimmer by almost four seconds. Billy Schultze had a similarly dominant swim in his 200 Breast, winning the top seed for the finals session by over two seconds. The most impressive feat of the morning was accomplished by Andrew Michelson, as he followed his 15th place finish in the 200 Breast with an eight place finish in the grueling 200 Fly in back-to-back events. Also worth noting is that nearly every swimmer has officially lost his or her voice while cheering, and by the time tonight’s session is over there probably won’t be a single swimmer who can speak over a whisper.
My morning started off with the very first event, the 200 Back. Jon had told me that the event could have huge implications for our hopes to overtake St. Thomas, so I was very disappointed to see my season end with a 17th place finish and two Tommies reaching the consolation heat just ahead of me. I started the race off fine, but my legs failed me down the stretch, so my season is officially over. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t be cheering on my teammates with all of my heart tonight though! It will surely be an exciting close to the season as the Gustie women close in on securing a Conference title and the men fight to win the men’s title.
Craig Nordquist is a third-year swimmer for Gustavus Adolphus College, and an intern in the school’s Sports Information department. He is blogging from the MIAC Championships to give you the inside scoop on the team. Be sure to read the daily installments of his blogs live from the meet.