Though perennial MIAC rival Gustavus was not present, many races were hotly contested. Participating schools included co-host Carleton, St. Benedict, Macalester, UW-Lacrosse and St. John's.
Swimmers and relay squads competed in individual races, but overall team scores were not compiled. The previous week, the Oles swam at Carleton in another unscored meet, the Northfield Relays. Still, the unscored meets have important value at this point in the season.
"These meets are essentially an opportunity for us to practice racing against our conference competitors and our teammates," Eric Tvedt '08 said. "Also, our times typically get faster as the year progresses, so it's a chance to see one's improvement throughout the season and gain some confidence going into the MIACs and NCAAs."
In races for the men, who finished seventh at nationals last season, winners included the 200 medley relay squad, Danny O'Keefe '11 in the 200 freestyle and Chris Bateman '11 in the 500 free. Nelson Westby '09, the reigning 200 individual medley NCAA champion, won the 100 backstroke, the 50 freestyle and the 200 backstroke. Bateman, O'Keefe, Kyle Biesecker '11, Jake Koch '09 and Tvedt finished second in assorted events.
None of the individual women or relays took home first-place honors. However, the 200 medley relay grabbed second, while Jamie Fredeen '10 finished second in the 200 free and 500 free. Other runner-up finishers included Allison Beardsley '11, Kjersten Grinde '11 and Jen Marzolf '08. Several men and women finished third in their events to complete the strong St. Olaf showing.
Ole swimmers seemed positive about the early season results. "We did well considering how we've been training," Tvedt said. "We've never started a season with such intensity, so we were a little broken down."
Both the men and women will race next in a duel meet at Gustavus Friday. Last season, the Ole men edged Gustavus for the MIAC title, while the women finished a distant second in the league championship to the dominant Gusties squad.
Saturday, St. Olaf hosts a quad meet with Hamline, St. Mary's and Augsburg.