St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s swimming and diving team suffered a 133-108 loss to MSU-Mankato in its final home meet of the season on Senior Night in the Lund Natatorium. The Gusties registered 17 top-three finishes, four of which were in event wins, at the meet.
“I’m pleased with where both the men and women’s teams are at going into taper,” said Head Coach Jon Carlson. “Mankato swam outstanding tonight. They came ready to race and beat us head-to-head in a lot of races. All in all, I was happy with what we were able to do, and I look forward to our next couple meets where we are a little more rested heading into the conference championships.”
In fitting fashion, two seniors recorded three of Gustavus’ four individual event wins on the night. Whitaker Davis, the most recent recipient of MIAC Swimmer of the Week honors, made the most of his last competitive swims in the water of the Lund Natatorium by winning both the 500 and 1000 freestyle. Davis touched the wall in 9:33.13 in the 1000 free, setting a new pool record previously held by brother Skylar Davis who swam a 9:46.34 in 2007. Davis came less than a second away from breaking Matt Stewart’s record (4:39.16) in the 500 free as well, taking first with a time of 4:39.77. Senior Paul Kirihara also made the most of his last home meet, recording a victory in the 100 backstroke with a time of 53.49, matching his season-best.
Billy Schultze added Gustavus’ other event win, while adding two more runner-up finishes. Schultze won the 100 free with a time of 48.21. His second place finishes came in the 200 free and 100 breaststroke with times of 1:47.32 and 1:00.16, respectively.
Second place finishers included Wes Jones, Sam DeFranco, Matt Van Fossen, and John Rice. Jones went 10:19.49 in the 1000 free, DeFranco swam a 22.53 in the 50 free, Van Fossen turned in a 54.73 in the 100 butterfly, and Rice recorded a 4:54.27 in the 500 free. Craig Nordquist rounded out the top individual swimmers with a third place finish in the 200 IM (2:06.91).
Sam Hanson led the Gusties in the diving competition, tallying second place finishes in the one and three-meter. He scored a 224.40 in the one-meter and a 215.70 in the three-meter. Mike Patterson placed third in the one-meter (163.30), while John Gerritson added a third in the three-meter (160.90).
Gustavus placed second in both the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay. Kirihara, Elliot Hoekstra, Van Fossen, and DeFranco teamed up in the 200 medley relay (1:39.09), while Ben Stewart, DeFranco, Nordquist, and Davis paired up in the 400 free relay (3:18.68).
In a pre-meet ceremony held in honor of Senior Night, eight senior members of the men’s swimming and diving team were honored for their commitment and dedication to the Gustavus swimming program for the past several years. The Athletic Department would like to extend a sincere thank you to this year’s seniors, Ryan Ortlip, Wes Jones, Drew Hedlund, Craig Nordquist, John Rice, Whitaker Davis, Paul Kirihara, and Sam DeFranco.
“It is really hard to say goodbye to seniors, but this class was a special one. It is going to be hard to imagine the Gustavus swimming program without this group of seniors. Their impact will be a felt for a long time and they will definitely be missed,” commented Carlson on his group of seniors.
The Gusties will be back in the pool on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 4-5, at the Minnesota Challenge held in the Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.