Strong Finish Leads To Sixth Straight MIAC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship

Posted on February 23rd, 2015 by

The Gustavus women's swimming and diving team used a strong finish to capture its sixth straight MIAC Championship.

Minneapolis – “Pressure is a privilege and this team embraces that,” said Head Coach Jon Carlson prior to the 2015 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships. When the leaderboard of the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Center displayed Gustavus and St. Thomas in a tie for first place after day one, it was apparent that this year’s meet was going to be a battle to the bitter end.

“St. Thomas was lights out that first day and, to be honest, humbled us by out-swimming us,” said Jon Carlson. “The first day was supposed to be our best and then all of a sudden we were faced with a great deal of adversity. Faced with that adversity, the realization set in that this was going to be a grueling meet and nothing was going to come easy.”

The pressure was on and the Gusties answered the bell. After taking a 15.5-point lead on day two, Gustavus surged forward with 296 points on day three to capture its sixth straight MIAC Championship with 858.5 points. St. Thomas finished closely behind in second with 817 points, while St. Olaf rounded out the top three in third with 514.5 points.

“To turnaround and step up over the final two days took a major gut check on behalf of the entire time,” Carlson said. “We worked our way back one championship swim at a time.”

Senior Jennifer Strom claimed was named the MIAC Swimmer-of-the-Year following the meet.

Senior Jennifer Strom claimed was named the MIAC Swimmer-of-the-Year following the meet.

Carlson called his team’s morning performance inspiring. “It was one big swim after another, which is exactly how a championship caliber team should perform. Every swimmer swam to the greatest extent of her ability in the morning and then came back and swam even faster at night. I am so proud of the girls and the sense of team and togetherness they displayed over the course of these three days. They truly swam to inspire throughout the meet.”

The Gustavus women’s swimming and diving program has won eight of the last nine and 10 of the last 14 MIAC Championships. Head Coach Jon Carlson’s team has now won a total of 10 MIAC titles, which ranks second behind St. Olaf’s 15. Gustavus’s success is unprecedented in recent history and is second only to St. Olaf’s string of 11 straight league titles won during the late-1980s through the 1990s.

Despite its top-to-bottom talent and a first place standing after day one, coach Carlson was not pleased with his team’s performance to begin the weekend. “There came a point during the meet that we became the underdog,” Carlson said. “If the meet played out the way it was scored, we weren’t going to come out on top. That took us by surprise and we were now faced with a sink or swim situation. The turnaround we needed came on Friday when they blew the roof off the building and started to seize the momentum. From that point forward, they took advantage of every single situation to move up – finishing with their best day of the meet on Saturday.”

Along with achieving the “Search for Six,” senior standout Jennifer Strom (Rochester, Minn.) was named the MIAC Women’s Swimmer-of-the-Year. The Gustavus swimming and diving program is now home to the past three MIAC Swimmers-of-the-Year as Strom follows in the footsteps of back-to-back recipient, Alissa Tinklenberg ’14.

Strom capped the final day of her final conference meet with a gold medal swim in the 200 breaststroke with an 2014 NCAA Selection time of 2:17.39.   Thanks to her win in the 200 breaststroke on Saturday, Strom completed a career-sweep of both breaststroke events at the MIAC Championships. For four seasons, only Jenny Strom has stood on the top spot of the podium in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke races.

“Jenny was named the MIAC Swimmer-of-the-Year because she was so dominating in the breaststroke,” said Carlson about his standout senior. “She simply blew out the competition and was racing against herself and the clock all weekend. It was inspiring to watch her take care of business.”

“Jenny is a determined young woman who wanted to win the MIAC Championship four times,” he continued. “Going into her senior season and the final conference meet of her career, she was not going to be denied the title and she made sure that she led by example and did her job. Jenny was an obvious choice for this award and I’m proud to have coached such an intense competitor.”

Senior Katie Olson gets a hug from head coach Jon Carlson after claiming her second straight title in the 100 free.

Senior Katie Olson gets a hug from head coach Jon Carlson after claiming her second straight title in the 100 free.

Paired with Strom’s fourth straight title, fellow senior Katie Olson (North Oaks, Minn.) also repeated in the 100 freestyle by touching the wall in a 2014 NCAA Selection time of 51.60. Rookie Kate Reilly (Hastings, Minn.) finished right behind Olson in the race with an NCAA B cut time of 51.71.

The Gusties also benefitted from individual All-Conference swims turned in by Sammy Jagler (Fy., Eagan, Minn.) and Hayley Booher (So., Warren, Vt.). Jagler finished runner-up in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:09.23, and Booher placed third in the 200 backstroke with an NCAA B cut time of 2:03.67.

To round out the night, the Gustavus 400-free relay team comprised of Michelle Campeau (Fy., Rochester, Minn.), Leah Anderson (Jr., Apple Valley, Minn.), Reilly, and Olson registered a 2014 NCAA Selection time of 3:27.12 to claim gold.

With time to decompress after the meet, coach Carlson reflected on the weekend. “Every year is so different,” he said. “We can bring back the same team every year and it would be a different story every year. College years are such a time of growth both mentally and emotionally for each swimmer.  Each individual comes back a different competitor every year.”

“We talked a lot about this team writing its own chapter of Gustavus swimming and diving history leading up to the meet,” added Carlson.  “Although this team was faced with early adversity, it found a way to battle back and use that adversity to its advantage. They wanted an MIAC Championship to be a part of their chapter and there was no way they were going to settle for anything less.”

Day Three Results

Photo Gallery

From The MIAC

Fans can re-live all the action from an incredible three days via the 2015 MIAC Swimming & Diving Championships home page. The site features the complete results, recaps, photos and more. Fans can also watch all six sessions on demand online, or order DVDs of the live video broadcast thanks to Webcast America. 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 use the hashtag #MIACSD to interact on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

 

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