St. Peter, Minn. - On Thursday morning at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, the reigning MIAC Champion Gustavus women’s swimming and diving team will attempt to win its fifth straight conference title.
“This team wants desperately to win a fifth MIAC Championship in a row and has absolutely the right attitude heading in,” said Head Coach Jon Carlson. “We might have a slight advantage over the field heading in, but we are not taking anything for granted and are going to go out and compete as hard as we possibly can.”
Last season, Gustavus won its fourth consecutive championship after tallying 743 points. Gustavus is the first school to win more than two titles in a row since St. Olaf dominated the late 1980s and 1990s with 11 straight. The Gusties have won six of the last seven and eight of the last 12 MIAC Championships.
Leading the Black and Gold at her final MIAC meet will be senior captain Alissa Tinklenberg (Willmar, Minn.). Already the most decorated female swimmer in the history of the program, Tinklenberg is the reigning MIAC Women’s Swimmer-of-the-Year after she scored a school-record 137 points at the Aquatic Center last season. She is the returning champion in the 400 IM, 100 back, and 200 back, and was also a member of last year’s gold medal 200-free, 400-free, and 400-medley relay teams.
“Tink has been an inspiration to everyone,” said Carlson about his standout senior. “No matter how hard we train, she always finds a way to swim fast. Her discipline and determination both in the pool and out set a precedent for everyone on the team. Her teammates respond to her work ethic and as a result do the things they need to do to be successful.”
Complimenting Tinklenberg in the pool will be a battle-tested group of upperclassmen, which includes standouts Jennifer Strom (Jr., Rochester, Minn.), Katie Olson (Jr., North Oaks, Minn.), and Danielle Klunk (Jr., Appleton, Wis.).
Strom is the breaststroke specialist to beat after winning both the 100 and 200 a year ago. Olson, who finished runner-up in the 50 free last season, will play a significant role in Gustavus’s relays after being a part of three relay wins in 2013. Klunk is poised to provide big points in the butterfly and freestyle after turning heads with an outstanding regular season in her first year with the program.
“This is a very experienced group and there’s a great advantage in that,” Carlson said about his returning swimmers. “Alongside our top swimmers, we have a handful of individuals like Laura Drake and Abby Lyle who always seem to rise to the occasion and put together the best swims of their seasons this weekend. It’s helpful to have a group of leaders who know what it’s like to swim at this level.”
Spectators are welcome at all six sessions, and there are two different options for purchasing tickets. Single-session tickets will be sold, costing $8 for adults and $4 for students. Fans will also have the option to buy an All-Session Pass for $40 (adults) or $20 (students). Heat sheets are included in the price of admission and will be available at the ticket window. Children 5 and under will be admitted free, and MIAC passes will be honored. No other passes or discounts will be accepted.
The morning sessions will feature preliminary races and will begin at 10:30 a.m., and the evening finals session will start at 6:30 p.m. each day. The doors open each morning at 9 a.m., and again at 5:30 p.m. for the evening session on Thursday and Friday. The doors will open at 3 p.m. for Saturday’s final session.
The MIAC has again teamed up with Webcast America to offer a live video/audio webcast of all six sessions. Webcast America will also offer archives of the sessions on its website for on-demand viewing, or purchase on DVD. There will also be “live” results available online with times and scores updated shortly following each event.
Complete information and coverage of the 2014 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships can be found on the MIAC’s event home page. Throughout the championships, the page will include the event schedules, venue information, ticket information, psych sheets, heat sheets, results, recaps, photo galleries, highlight videos, helpful links and more. Fans can connect throughout the meet via social media, using the official hashtag #MIACSD on Twitter.
Gustavus and Hamline are serving as the host institutions for the 2014 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships. Twin Cities Orthopedics will again provide athletic training and medical services. The Commons Hotel is the official hotel partner of the MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships, and Pure Blue Swim provided medals for All-MIAC performers.