Tradition of Excellence: 2000 Men’s Swim & Dive Ends St. Olaf Dynasty

Posted on May 8th, 2020 by

Left: The 2000 men's and women's team. Right: The Gusties celebrate after winning the MIAC championship

In the absence of sports for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, Gustavus sports information will provide a series of stories to take a look back at great moments in Golden Gustie athletics history, celebrating its proud tradition of excellence.

February 26, 2000

Men’s Swim & Dive Captures First MIAC Title in 40 Years

From the Gustavian Yearbook and other archives

Coach Jon Carlson and his men’s team reached a goal that they had been pursuing for the past several years. They swam past St. Olaf to claim the program’s first MIAC swim title in 40 years, ending the Oles’ string of 20 consecutive league titles in the process.

“We knew it was going to be a dog fight the whole way but the guys were on a mission,” Carlson said. “They wanted to win the first conference championship in 40 years and start a new tradition. They swam lights out all weekend. Going in, I did not think we were going to win. By seed time St. Olaf was better than us, but we swam great and rose to the challenge.”

The Gusties also ended the regular season with an undefeated dual meet record of 7-0, which included a victory over St. Olaf that ended the Oles’ string of 96 consecutive MIAC dual meet wins spanning 19 years. At the MIAC Championship meet, Gustavus crowned eight event champions: Nick Early (So., Red Wing) in the 100 butterfly; Joe Majewski (Sr., Burlington Wis.) in the 100 and 200 breaststroke; and five relay teams including the 200, 400, and 800 freestyle relay teams and the 200 and 400 medley relays. All-Conference honors went to Early, Majewski, Jeff Simonson (So., Red Wing), Scott Stephens (Fy., Hastings), Chris Price (So., Fridley), and Nick Brase (Fy., Red Wing).

“Toward the end when I realized we were going to win, I panicked because St. Olaf always had a championship t-shirt they would wear after winning, and we didn’t have one made,” Carlson said. “We were at Saint John’s so I drove to the nearest shirt shop and had the most basic shirt made. All it said was “MIAC Champs I” because St. Olaf always had a Roman numeral for their championships. It had no mention of Gustavus and didn’t have the year, it was not very good, but it was one of the greatest celebrations I’ve ever been a part of.”

Gustavus qualified six swimmers for the NCAA Championships: Simonson achieved the B standard qualifying time in the 200 backstroke. Five of the six swimmers competed at the national meet: Majewski in the 200 breaststroke and the 200 free relay team of Nate Liddle (So., Eagan), James Wetherbee (Sr., Sartell), Early, and Brase.

“Senior captains Joe Majewski and James Wetherbee kept everyone focused all year,” Carlson said. “The intensity of each practice was something we had never experienced before.”

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Previous “Tradition of Excellence” stories:

1987 Men’s Basketball Wins MIAC Playoffs

1985 Gymnastics Wins Division III National Championship

2009 Men’s Hockey Advances to NCAA Title Game

2015 Volleyball Wins 27 Straight

1971 Men’s Tennis Marks Coach Wilkinson’s First MIAC Title

Harren Captures 2005 NCAA Cross Country Title

1927 Baseball Claims First MIAC Championship

Women’s Hoops Upsets Host, Advances to 2018 NCAA Sweet 16

2005 Men’s Soccer Reaches NCAA Title Match

2009 Softball Makes Run at College World Series

Men’s Golf Wins 2004 National Championship

Women’s Hockey Takes Third at 2017 NCAA Tourney

War Vets Lead Football to 1946 MIAC Title

2007 Women’s Swim & Dive Cruises to MIAC Championship

Hensch Captures Grand Slam of Throws at 2019 MIAC Outdoor

1984 Women’s Soccer Wins First MIAC Title

1990 Men’s Cross Country Qualifies for First NCAA Meet

Women’s Tennis Wins 1990 National Championship


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