The Gustavus women’s swimming and diving team sits in first place with a total of 173 points after the first day of competition at the 2012 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships being held at the Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota Feb. 16-18. Second place St. Olaf tallied 128 points on day one, while Saint Benedict sits in third with 102 points.
“The women swam great and it was a good first day,” said Head Coach Jon Carlson. “Its going to be a battle, but we are excited about the next two days and hopefully we have what it takes to finish strong.”
The Gustie women were off to a fast start to open up the finals session tonight, recording the first victory of the women’s meet by taking the 200-free relay. Junior Kelsey Lucia (St. Cloud, Minn.), junior Sarah Hund (Willmar, Minn.), first-year Katie Olson (North Oaks, Minn.), and sophomore Alissa Tinklenberg (Willmar, Minn.) teamed up to swim a 1:34.05 and edge a second place Carleton group by just over one second. Their time met the NCAA B cut and was just :05 seconds shy of the MIAC and meet record time of 1:34.05 set in 2005 by Gustavus.
The women kept the momentum going into the 500 freestyle where three swimmers placed inside the top eight, earning 44 points from the trio. Tinklenberg, the favorite coming into the race, swam a 4:58.42, hitting the NCAA B cut and finishing runner-up to St. Olaf’s Meghan Weiss who swam a 4:57.40. First-year McKenna Jones (Faribault, Minn.) and senior Melissa Aune (St. Peter, MInn.) also cracked the top-eight, finishing fifth (5:09.86) and sixth (5:11.31), respectively.
In the 200 individual medley, senior Steph Korba (Lakeville, Minn.) made the podium with a third place mark after swimming a 2:11.17. Sophomore Abby Lyle (Buffalo, Wyo.) swam to a seventh place finish in the 200 IM with a time of 2:12.13.
The Gusties rounded out the night with a strong showing in the 50 free – once again – placing three individuals inside the top eight. Top-ranked Kelsey Lucia led the group by taking second in the race with an NCAA B cut time of 23.83. Lucia was edged by Carleton’s Sophie Pilhofer who touched the wall just .02 seconds ahead of her. Also in the 50 free, Katie Olson finished fourth with a time of 24.03, and Sarah Hund took eighth in 24.43.
Following each race, all eight finalists were honored with a podium awards ceremony during Thursday night’s session, and the top three finishers in each event received MIAC All-Conference honors and received medals for their achievement.
The 2012 MIAC Championships will continue tomorrow morning with preliminary rounds beginning at 10:30 a.m.