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ISSUE 120 VOL 12 PUBLISHED 2/23/2007

Swimmers make big splash at 'U'

By Eric Monek Anderson
Staff Writer


Friday, February 23, 2007

Last weekend, the St. Olaf men won the MIAC Swimming and Diving conference title by a scant five points over Gustavus Adolphus with an 843.5-point total. On the women’s side, Gustavus used a strong third day to distance itself from St. Olaf and Carleton, preventing St. Olaf from its third straight title by a 155-point total.

Ole swimmers, divers, and coaches all garnered honors at the meet, held at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center and hosted by St. Olaf’s athletic department.

The oft-forgotten diving team clinched the victory for St. Olaf. Christian Lorentzen ‘07 won both events and was named Men’s Diver of the Meet for the fourth consecutive year, while first-year Alyssa Germeroth was named Women’s Diver of the Meet after also sweeping the one- and three-meter diving competitions. St. Olaf diving coach Gabe Kortuem ‘02 was duly honored as Diving Coach of the Year.

Legendary St. Olaf swim coaches Dave and Bob Hauck ‘87 were named MIAC Men’s Coaches of the Year after leading their squad to its first conference title since 2001. The five point margin of victory is tiny, as each individual winner earns 20 points for their team and a relay triumph equals 40 points. In other words, five points is the difference between just a few places in just one event. St. Olaf fell behind Gustavus on the first day, captured the lead on Friday, and barely retained it on Day Three to win the championship trophy.

Nelson Westby ‘09, who set a MIAC record by swimming the 200-yard IM in 1:50.96 and was part of two additional MIAC record-setting medley relays, was named Men’s Swimmer of the Meet. Westby added two more victories in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke. For his efforts, Westby was also named the NCAA Division III Swimmer of the Week, his second such honor this year from collegeswimming.com.

In the 200 breaststroke, Ben Wareham won, one of four Ole swimmers in the top five. Two other Oles in the top four helped make senior Tom Kukla's victory in the 200 backstroke even sweeter.

Such depth at the top was crucial to the men's victory. The 200 and 400 medley relay teams each set MIAC and meet records, and are seeded first in the nation.

The St. Olaf women had a tougher time. Besides Germeroth’s victories in the diving events, the Ole women won just two events. Gustavus avenged an earlier dual meet loss and extended its lead during each day of the championships, though the Oles finished ahead of close rival Carleton, which was led by first-year Women's Swimmer of the Meet Kate Alexander. The 800 freestyle relay team of seniors Mikayla Meyer and Kelly Dolan and juniors Aly Janzen and Christina Roberts was victorious, along with senior Julia Rood in the 100 butterfly.

Swimmers with ‘A’ cut times automatically qualify for nationals, while those with ‘B’ cut times must hope that their event’s spots are not filled. Rood, Westby, Wareham, Kukla, Adam Meyer, Jake Koch, and the two victorious divers are set for nationals, which will be held at the University of Houston in mid-March.





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