The Gustavus men’s swimming and diving team compiled 612 points to finish in third place at the 2011 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships held Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Aquatics Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota. St. Olaf scored 759.5 points at the three-day event to win the 2011 MIAC Title, while St. Thomas came in second place with 640 points.
The Gustavus men’s swimming and diving team recorded five NCAA B cut times and three NCAA automatic qualifying times at the conference meet. In addition to their NCAA marks, the Gusties turned in four event wins and 11 All-Conference performances. All-Conference performers included Sam DeFranco (Andover, Minn.), Zach Nachtsheim (Shoreview, Minn.), Drew Hedlund (Little Canada, Minn.), Sam Olson-Anstett (Shoreview, Minn.), Paul Kirihara (Bloomington, Minn.), Billy Schultze (Mankato, Minn.), Matt Van Fossen (Albert Lea, Minn.), Whitaker Davis (Palatine, Ill.), and John Rice (Madison, Wis.).
Whitaker Davis was the top individual performer at the meet, recording two event wins and placing second in another. Davis won both the 500 and 1650 freestyle races, turning in an NCAA automatic qualifying time in both. He swam a 4:28.94 in the 500 and a 15:36.96 in the 1650. Davis’s mark in the 1650 bested his older brother Skylar Davis’ 2010 record of 15:48.27 in the race, setting a new meet standard as well. In the 200 free, Davis swam a 1:40.76 to take second, making the NCAA B cut.
Billy Schultze finished runner-up in both the breaststroke races. He swam a 57.40 in the 100, making the NCAA B cut, and a 2:06.80 in the 200. Schultze’s marks in both the 100 and 200 breaststrok races topped set new school records. The previous record in the 100 was 58.26 set by Joe Majewski in 200, while Schultze broke his own standard of 2:08.23 set in 2010.
Paul Kirihara and John Rice turned in Gustavus’ other All-MIAC individual performances. Kirihara finished third in both the 100 and 200 backstroke, touching the wall in 51.36 (NCAA B) in the 100 and 1:52.83 in the 200 (NCAA B). Rice swam a 16:16.64 to take third place in the mile.
The Gustavus relay teams registered a pair of victories and one second place finish. The 200-free relay team of Sam DeFranco, Zach Nachtsheim, Drew Hedlund, and Sam Olson-Anstett came in first place with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:23.33, while Kirihara, Schultze, Matt Van Fossen, and Nachtsheim teamed up to win the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:32.32. The 400-medley relay team of Kirihara, Schultze, Van Fossen, and Davis rounded out the meet with a second place finish in 3:24.15. Both time 200 and 400-medley relay times set new new school records.
Qualifying members of the Gustavus men’s swimming and diving team will compete at the NCAA Championships on March 23-26, in the Allan Jones Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Selections to the National Championships will be made official March 8.