Minneapolis - The Gustavus Adolphus men’s swimming and diving team scored 174 points on the final day of competition at the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships being held at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. With today’s point total, Gustavus finished in fourth place with 498.5 points. St. Olaf claimed the 2014 MIAC title with 848 points, St. Thomas finished second with 740 points, and Carleton rounded out the top three in third with 536 points.
“The men came together as the season wore on and I’m so proud of the team’s effort this weekend,” said Head Coach Jon Carlson. “They now realize what it takes to be a championship team again and this is the team that will be remembered for turning a corner and getting the program going back in the right direction.”
The Gusties registered a total of three all-conference performances on the final day of the meet. The squad’s top finish was supplied by Dante Colucci (So., Summit, N.J.) who won the first gold medal of his young career with a win in the 200 backstroke. After ranking second with a time of 1:53.77 in the morning preliminaries, Colucci out-touched Carleton’s Aaron Schwab in the finals with a gold medal time of 1:50.40.
“Dante Colucci did a great job all weekend long,” stated Carlson. “Of all our swimmers, Dante stepped up just as big as anyone. He’s not a 200 guy but he went out and took control of the 200 backstroke right from the beginning. He’s got a big personality and an even bigger heart and that’s why he’s able to swim so fast.”
Ross Larson (Jr., Brookings, S.D.) also cracked the top eight in the 200 backstroke by taking eighth with a time of 1:56.82.
Zac Solis (Jr., Centennial, Minn.) capped off a career meet with his fourth all-conference and third top-two finish of the weekend. Solis touched the wall in 16:17.69 in the 1,650 freestyle to finish runner-up behind St. Olaf’s Spencer Scarth who posted a winning time of 16:16.27. Solis finished the meet with a gold medal in the 500 freestyle, silver medals in the 200 and 1,650 free, and a bronze in the 400-medley relay.
“Zac provided inspiring swim and inspiring swim,” Carlson said about Solis. “He has now developed into an elite swimmer and is only going to get better. I’m so excited for him and his future. He came in second in the mile and it was just the third time he’s ever competed in that race! It was an awe-inspiring swim and one that set an outstanding tone for the rest of the final day.”
Diver Bennet Woltjer (So., Kandiyohi, Minn.) captured his second all-conference award of the meet with a third place showing in the three-meter diving competition after scoring a 365.10. Woltjer also took third in day one’s one-meter contest.
Rounding out the day’s top finishers was Jacob Stern (So., Rosemount, Minn.) and Elliot Hoekstra (Sr., Mendota Heights, Minn.) who placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 200 breaststroke. Stern finished in 2:05.59, while Hoekstra went 2:05.75. Hoekstra’s time of 2:04.59 broke the Gustavus record of 2:05.59 set by Billy Schultze in 2012.
Following the conclusion of the meet, there was a brief awards ceremony to honor the All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team, team champions, individual award winners including Swimmers, Divers and Coaches-of-the-Year. The top three swimmers in each race were named All-Conference. A complete list of MIAC Swimming and Diving award winners will be released in the coming week
Fans can relive all the action of the 2014 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships online. The event home page has complete results, recaps, photo galleries and highlight videos from an exciting weekend. All photos are available for purchase directly from the galleries. All six sessions are also archived online thanks to Webcast America, and fans can purchase DVDs or watch each session on-demand.