Minneapolis – Head Coach Jon Carlson could not have imagined a better start for his women’s swimming and diving team on the opening day of the 2014 MIAC Championships being held at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center over the weekend.
“Our performance today was better than I could have ever hoped for,” said Carlson after Thursday evening’s finals. “It was truly an inspiring night and that gets me pumped up for the next two days. Every single swimmer stepped up and swam great. We always talk about ‘swimming to inspire’ and there wasn’t a single swim that wasn’t inspiring tonight.”
The Gusties won every event on day one and finished the evening session in first place with 287 points. The University of St. Thomas sits in second with 159.5 points, while St. Olaf College is in third with 136.5 points.
It was Gustavus domination in both relay events. In the 200-free relay, Alissa Tinklenberg (Sr., Willmar, Minn.), Tarin Ading (So., Sartell, Minn.), Danielle Klunk (Jr., Appleton, Wis.), and Katie Olson (Jr., North Oaks, Minn.) turned in a time of 1:33.83 to earn Gustavus’s first gold medal of the night.
In the last women’s event of the night, Tinklenberg, Jennifer Strom (Jr., Rochester, Minn.), Klunk, and Olson won the 400-medley relay in record-breaking fashion. The group posted a time of 3:47.09 to break the MIAC/Gustavus record by more than three seconds. Gustavus’s Tinklenberg, Strom, Laura Drake (Sr., Mendota Heights, Minn.), and Olson held the previous record in the event with a time of 3:50.86 set at last season’s MIAC Championships.
On an individual level, Tinklenberg, Klunk, and Strom led the way with first place swims in their respective races.
Tinklenberg touched the wall in 23.18 to win the 50 free, breaking her own school record set earlier in the day in the preliminaries. Kelsey Lucia was the former record holder with a time of 23.30 registered in 2011.
Klunk also broke the school record with her performance in the 200 individual medley. At her first MIAC Championships, Danielle touched the wall in 2:06.96 – shattering Alissa Tinklenberg’s original record of 2:08.85 set just this season.
It was a clean sweep of the top four spots for the Gusties in the 200 IM. Behind Klunk was Laura Drake, Hayley Booher (Fy., Warren, Vt.), and Kirstin Podratz (Fy., Eagan, Minn.). Drake finished runner-up in 2:07.11, Booher placed third in 2:07.21, and Podratz came in fourth in 2:08.41.
It should be noted that a rare occurrence happened in the morning preliminaries of the 200 IM. Laura Drake swam in heat three and broke the Gustavus record held by Tinklenberg. Hayley Booher then broke Drake’s school record in heat four, and Danielle Klunk broke Booher’s school record in heat five. Gustauvs’s record mark in the 200 IM fell three times before Klunk’s winning swim
Rounding out Gustavus’s all-conference swimmers of day one was Kaite Olson and Leah Anderson (So., Apple Valley, Minn.). Olson came in second behind Tinklenberg in the 50 free with a time of 23.51, and Anderson placed third in the 500 free with a time of 5:08.22.
The top three finishers in each event – including relays – earned All-Conference honors for their performances, and were awarded medals.
The 2014 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships will continue with four more sessions Friday and Saturday (Feb. 14-15) at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Each morning sessions feature preliminary races and will begin at 10:30 a.m., and the evening finals sessions 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 Friday. The doors will open at 3 p.m. for Saturday’s final session.
Spectators are welcome at all 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.
If fans can’t make it to Minneapolis, there are several ways they can track the action from afar. 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.