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ISSUE 120 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 3/23/2007

Seventh heaven at nationals

By Eric Monek Anderson
Sports Editor

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sophomore Nelson Westby won the national championship in the 200 individual medley to lead the St. Olaf men'’s swimming and diving team to a seventh place finish at the NCAA Division III National Meet in Houston last weekend.

Westby, who was ranked first nationally in the event throughout the year, won the race in 1:50.84. He also placed fourth in the 100 fly and fifth in the 100 breast.

Perhaps understating his achievement, Westby called his championship “"pretty cool."” It is yet another accolade for the swimmer from Salem, Ore. During the MIAC season, Westby was twice named National Swimmer of the Week by, and after winning three individual and two relay events at the MIAC Championship, was named Male Swimmer of the Meet.

Westby's accomplishments are made more impressive by the fact that he's only been swimming for about five years. When asked how an elite Oregon swimmer ended up at St. Olaf, he said that after a couple years of high school, he wanted to get more involved in swimming, so his parents signed him up for a local club team and sent him to a couple swim camps at St. Olaf (his father Steve is an ‘'83 alum) under the tutelage of coaches Bob and Dave Hauck.

The experience was enough to bring him halfway across the country to swim. His victory and overall performance at nationals improved on a few top 10 finishes from a year ago.

St. Olaf's seventh-place team finish in the national meet was an improvement by one spot from last year, matching the team’'s goal of finishing in the top 10 overall. Besides Westby's individual win, the 200 and 400 medley relays (which included Westby), placed second and fourth, respectively.

St. Olaf finished ninth in the 800 free relay and 14th in the 200 free relay. Jake Koch '‘09 finished 14th in the 100 free and 15th in the 200 free, while counterpart Adam Meyer '‘09 placed 12th in the 100 back. Ben Wareham '‘07 notched a 15th place finish in the 200 breast. Diver Christian Lorentzen ‘'07 rounded out the individual achievements by placing 10th in the 3-meter dive and 16th in the 1-meter dive.

On the women's side, first-year diver Alyssa Germeroth, who along with Lorentzen was named a Diver of the Meet at the MIAC Championships, garnered All-America honors in the 1-meter dive after placing third. She also received All-America honorable mention for finishing 12th in the 3-meter dive.

As for Westby, next weekend he will swim at the USA Spring Nationals, and then begin training for the Summer Senior Nationals.

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