After a jam-packed day of wire-to-wire action, the Gustavus women’s swimming and diving team will head in to the final day of competition at the 2012 MIAC Championships with a narrow three point lead over St. Olaf. The Gusties earned a total of 260 points in day two and now lead the pack with a two-day total of 433 points. St. Olaf registered 302 points today, sitting in a close second with 430 points. St. Thomas rounds out the top-three in third with 334 points, moving up two spots from day one.
“The women swam great tonight and we picked up a pair of nice wins thanks to school-record performances by Jen Strom and Alissa Tinklenberg,” said Head Coach Jon Carlson. “A lot of credit to St. Olaf, they are swimming awesome right now and it is going to be a dog fight to the end tomorrow.”
It was a record-breaking day for the Gustie women, as first-year Jennifer Strom (Rochester, Minn.) and sophomore Alissa Tinklenberg (Willmar, Minn.) stole the show. Strom swam to a gold medal in the 100 breaststroke with an NCAA B cut time of 1:04.60. Her time in the race broke both the meet record and Gustavus’ school record. Macalester’s Karoline Hart held the previous meet record of 1:05.41 since 2009. Anika Erickson `11 was the previous school record holder, recording a time of 1:05.49 in 2009.
Alissa Tinklenberg swam a 56.48 to win the 100 backstroke, meeting the NCAA B cut in the process. Tinklenberg’s performance in the 100 back is the best ever by a Gustie swimmer, edging Carley Mosher’s 2010 time of 56.89. Tinklenberg was the top-seeded swimmer in the race entering the weekend.
Taking home silver for the Gusties was sophomore Abby Lyle (Buffalo, Wyo.) and first-year Katie Olson (North Oaks, Minn.). Lyle, who ranked eighth in the event entering the meet, turned in a second place time of 4:39.70 (shaving more than 10-seconds off her qualifying time). The 200 freestyle seeds stayed true as St. Olaf’s Meghan Weiss won the race in 1:51.72, while Olson placed second in 1:53.95.
Senior Steph Korba (Lakeville, Minn.) turned in her second bronze medal performance of the MIAC Championships by taking third in the 100 butterfly with a time of 58.31.
Adding a total of four finishes inside the top-eight was junior Quinn Arnold (Marinette, Wis.) and sophomore Laura Drake (Mendota Heights, Minn.). Both swimmers placed eighth in two events. Arnold swam a 4:48.04 in the 400 IM and a 1:00.36 in the 100 backstroke, while Drake went 1:00.01 in the 100 butterfly and 1:07.43 in the 100 breaststroke.
Also making what may turn out to be a key impact on the meet was rookie Heather Funai (Lincolnwood, Ill.) who stepped up in a big way in the three-meter diving competition. Funai registered a score of 361.20 on the board, finishing third to earn the Gusties 16 points. Senior Alicia Alvarado (Willmar, Minn.) also cracked the top-eight by finishing sixth after scoring a 335.65.
The Gustie relay teams swam to a pair of second place marks on Friday. The second place 200-medley relay team of senior Allyson Hannemann (Mansfield, Ohio), Drake, Korba, and sophomore Kelsey Lucia (St. Cloud, Minn.) hit the NCAA B cut after touching the wall in 1:46.96. They were edged by St. Thomas who won the race with a time of 1:46.79.
Lucia, first-year McKenna Jones (Faribault, Minn.), Olson, and Tinklenberg combined to finish runner-up in the 800-free relay with an NCAA B cut time of 7:41.81. St. Olaf took first in the race after going 7:40.78, a new meet record that was previously set by Gustavus in 2010.
Following each race, all eight finalists were honored in brief awards ceremonies, and the top three finishers in each event received MIAC All-Conference honors and received medals for their achievement.
The stage has been set for a thrilling final day of action Saturday with two more sessions on the schedule. The preliminary round begins at 10:30 a.m. with the finals set to start Friday evening at 6:30 p.m.