The MIAC Championships never disappoint. It was another roller coaster session in Minneapolis. It was the most crowded I’ve ever seen a Friday session in my four years. There were loads of Gustie, Ole and Tommie fans to come and support their teams. All fans were treated to a fun session. For the Gusties a lot of barriers were broken, especially on the women’s side.
The night started with the women’s three-meter diving. First-year Heather Funai came through big for the Gustie women, finishing third, which means she will be awarded All-Conference. Next up was the 200 medley relay. The women were edged out by a mere .17 seconds. The men finished second as well, edging out Carleton and St. Thomas by less than three tenths of a second.
In the 400 IM, Abby Lyle took second, going 4:39.70. She is only the second woman to break 4:40 in Gustavus history. The Gustie men got a fourth and sixth place finish from Zac Solis and Steven Manley. In the 100 fly, Steph Korba got third to again get all-conference honors. Matt Van Fossen moved up to second with a time 51.05.
In the 200 free, Katie Olson finished second to gain her first all-conference honor as a collegiate swimmer. The men went one-two in the consolation heat with Kurt Youngdahl and Ben Stewart. The women’s 100 breaststroke was perhaps the most exciting race of the night. First-year Jenny Strom was seeded fourth and had the challenge of facing Emily Punyko who set a meet record in the morning. Punyko took the early lead but Strom brought it back stronger and finished with a time of 1:04.60. The time is the new meet record and was .02 seconds away from the MIAC record. That time was also under the NCAA selection time last year a new Gustavus school record.
The men’s 100 breaststroke was exciting as well. Peter Crady went 59.84, breaking the one minute mark which is always a big barrier for a breaststroker. Elliot Hoekstra and Billy Schultze finished 6th and 2nd, both setting new personal bests. In the 100 backstroke, senior Ally Hannemann cracked the 1 minute mark with a time of 59.95. Alissa Tinklenberg stole the show with a dominating first place finish and setting a new school record with a time of 56.48. The time was well under the NCAA selection time from last year. The men got strong points from Ross Larson and Zach Nachtsheim.
The last event of the evening was the 800 free relay. The women were seeded third in the event and finished second. The third leg, Katie Olson, gained four second on the leading Oles but the Oles saved their best for last and Tinklenberg (the anchor) was touched out. The men found themselves in a battle with Carleton College. The Knights took an early lead but the Gustie men chipped away at it. Youngdahl made up big ground but in the end it wasn’t quite enough, as the Knights touched out the Gusties by a mere .15 seconds.
The Gustie women have swam great to this point. However, St. Olaf has kept with them stroke-for-stroke. After two days of competetion, the women hold a 433-430 advantage. Diving will play a huge role for the Gusties tomorrow, as the Oles don’t have any divers. Every swim will matter tomorrow and the morning session is arguably more important than the evening. The women will need to set themselves up well for the evening.
The men are in a bit different scenario. There were great swims all around, but St. Thomas and St. Olaf swam great too. The Tommies hold a ten point edge on the Oles heading into tomorrow. The Gustie men however are about a hundred points back but remain about a hundred points ahead of St. John’s. A strong session is needed tomorrow for the men to keep ahead of Saint John’s. It is the last day tomorrow, which means it is the last chance for the Gusties to show what they worked five months for. Look for a lot of great swims across the board.
Gunnar Teigen, a senior on the Gustavus swimming and diving team, is an intern for the Gustavus Adolphus Sports Information Department. Teigen will be blogging from the 2012 MIAC Championships to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the conference championships through the eyes of one of the student-athletes competiting. Teigen will be posting a new installment his feature blog, “Deck Pass To The 2012 MIAC Swim & Dive Championships” following each day of competition.