Women’s Swimming & Diving’s Search For Six Begins Thursday

Posted on February 18th, 2015 by

All-Americans Katie Olson, Jenny Strom, and Danielle Klunk will be amongst Gustavus's senior leaders at the MIAC Championships this weekend. Photo courtesy of Dan Coquyt.

St. Peter, Minn. – When the Gustavus Adolphus swimming and diving team steps onto the deck of the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center on Thursday morning for the opening day prelims of the 2015 MIAC Championships, it will once again have a target on its back.  This year, that target is bigger and more glaring than ever before.  It is, however, justified considering the fact that the Gusties have won five straight MIAC titles and last season broke the program record for points scored at the conference meet with 886.5.  For the Gusties, the bigger the target, the better.

“I am a very blessed coach because this team loves challenge, loves pressure, and loves to be the team with a target on its back – the team everyone is gunning for,” said Head Coach Jon Carlson, who is now in his 25th season at the head of the Gustavus swimming and diving program. “The bigger the challenge the more it rises to the occasion, and this weekend will be no different.”

Coach Carlson says that the team’s strength stems from the confidence each individual has in one another. “If one swimmer falters even a little bit, she knows that she has a teammate right behind her that will be there to pick her up. That depth and that confidence allows us to swim free and get after each race.”

“A lot swimmers like to train; this group likes to race,” Carlson continued about the team’s demeanor and preparation leading up to the championships. “There isn’t a trainer in the group; they train to race. What these girls love is the head-to-head competition.”

Jenny Strom will attempt to win her fourth consecutive MIAC Championship in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke this weekend in Minneapolis.

Jenny Strom will attempt to win her fourth consecutive MIAC Championship in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke this weekend in Minneapolis.

As much as Head Coach John Carlson wants to believe this is just another year with the same set of expectations, it is not. The Gusties have established themselves as a conference power and despite this being the first season of Gustavus women’s swimming and diving in the post-Alissa Tinklenberg ’14 era, a precedent has been set.

“The swimmers on this team want to take their seat next to Alissa and all the other All-Americans who have come before them,” said Carlson. “They are looking to carve out a piece of their own Gustavus history. Each team has a connection to the ones before, but each team defines its own path and writes its own chapter, and it is up to them to write the best possible chapter it can. This group of young women has embraced that concept like no other, and I feel blessed to have the privilege of seeing how it’s written.”

Carlson returns to Minneapolis with the same mix of veteran leadership and young talent that has led to five consecutive conference crowns. Although that leadership stems from a group of nine seniors on the conference roster, senior All-Americans expected to lead the way include Jennifer Strom (Rochester, Minn.), Katie Olson (North Oaks, Minn.), and Danielle Klunk (Appleton, Wis.). These three alone – Strom, Olson, and Klunk – were responsible for 10 gold (6 individual) and three silver (2 individual) medals at the 2014 MIAC Championships. When it’s go time this weekend, coach Carlson has a pretty good idea where the spark will come from.

“I can’t tell you how important the upperclassmen leadership has been on this team,” commented Carlson. “To go along with the three mentioned earlier, every senior on this team has contributed in a different way. This group has stepped up and created a true family atmosphere. The concept of ‘One Team, One Family’ is one that this team has bought in to. They believe it, live it, and act it out. When you have a team that cares this much about one another, that makes for a tough team to beat.”

Although Gustavus is attached to the top qualifying time in nine different individual events and all five relays, coach Carlson says that at this stage, it’s anyone’s race. Pressure and expectation are terms often used in discussion of championship caliber teams. Within the close-knit family that is Gustavus swimming and diving, pressure is a driving force and expectation comes from inside the walls of the Vic.

“Pressure is a privilege and this team embraces that,” Carlson concluded. “Pressure, to these girls, adds to the fun of it all and it’s why they swim. Their personal expectations far exceed the external ones.  It’s because of this that they crave pressure – need it to perform at their very best. It’s certainly a special team with a special culture and I look forward to watching them compete.”

Courtesy Of The MIAC

The 2015 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships will be held Thursday, Feb. 19, through Saturday, Feb. 21, with two sessions each day. The morning sessions will begin at 10:30 a.m. (doors at 9 p.m.) and will feature preliminary races, with the evening championship sessions starting at 6:30 p.m. (doors at 5:30 p.m.). Saturday’s championship doors will open at 3 p.m. for preliminary heats of the 1,650-yard freestyle and diving.

A seven-time all-conference performer a year ago, Katie Olson will look to defend her title in the 100 free.

A seven-time all-conference performer a year ago, Katie Olson will look to defend her title in the 100 free.

Tickets are available at either a single-session rate, or all-session passes will also be available for fans who plan to attend the entire event. Single-session passes cost $8 for adults and $4 for students, and all-session passes are $40 for adults and $20 for students. Heat sheets are included in the cost of admission. Children 5 and under are admitted free, and MIAC passes will be honored for all six session. No other passes or discounts will be accepted.

As in years past, all six sessions will be broadcast live online thanks to Webcast America. Fans will also be able to watched archived video of each session following the event and purchase DVDs of the broadcasts via Webcast America’s site. MIAC Media’s Mike Gallagher will handle play-by-play duties for four of the six sessions, with St. Catherine swimming alumnae Lauren Kranig taking over for the other two sessions. There will also be “live” results available online with results updated shortly after the conclusion of each event for fans following the action from afar.

The MIAC has an exclusive Web site for the 2015 MIAC Swimming & Diving Championships. The site features the complete event schedule, psych sheet, ticket information and venue information. The site will be constantly updated throughout the event with heat sheets, links to follow the action live, results, recaps, photos and more.

Fans can also monitor MIAC women’s swimming and diving on-the-go thanks to the the MIAC mobile app, which is a free download for both Apple and Android devices. Also, connect to the conference on its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube pages and use the official event hashtag #MIACSD to interact throughout the championships.

MIAC Championships Preview

 


2 Comments

  1. Fred Hund says:

    Let’s GOOOOO!!!!!

  2. Mary L Strom says:

    Gusties , the greatest GOOOOO Grandma Strom