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ISSUE 121 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/7/2007

Athletes swim to success at elite meet

By Julie Howard
Staff Writer

Friday, December 7, 2007

Last weekend, the St. Olaf swim team took Wisconsin and the Carthage Invitational by storm. Both the men and women performed exceptionally well at Carthage College's annual gathering of top Division II and Division III teams from the area.

The women placed third, behind third-ranked Division II school St. Cloud State and MIAC competitor Gustavus (ranked 23rd in the Division III poll). The Oles are ranked 36th in that poll, and bested 22nd-ranked host Carthage in the meet.

St. Olaf's men, currently ranked seventh in Division III, placed fourth in the nine-team event. The men's event featured four teams in the top 15 of the poll, as well as winner St. Cloud State, the third-ranked team in Division II. They bested prime rivals Gustavus for the second time this season, finishing over 200 points ahead of the Gusties.

Coach Bob Hauck acknowledged that his swimmers met his expectations. "We always swim well at this meet," Hauck said. "We had people shaved and tapered and it really showed in our swims."

Phenom Nelson Westby '09, who won the national championship in the 200 IM last season, paced the men to their solid finish. Westby broke a school and conference record with his 1:50:51 time in the 200 IM, which stands as the best time in Division III this season.

Westby also won the 200 breaststroke and the 50 free. In the 200 breastroke and 200 IM, Westby posted times that would have placed fourth and first, respectively, at last year's national meet. Adam Meyer '09 took home a win in the 100 backstroke. Other winners included the 400 medley squad (Meyer, Nate Bentley '10, Westby and Luke Murrell '11) and the 200 medley relay team (Meyer, Jake Koch '09, Westby and Murrell). For his efforts on the week, Westby was named the MIAC Male Swimmer of the Week.

On the women's side, the class of 2011 made itself heard as the recruiting class of 18 gave the Ole women an extra boost with several outstanding swims. Kjersten Grinde '11 garnered the 100 breaststroke crown, while Allison Beardsley '11 also made significant contributions with her second place finishes in the 200 and 400 IMs. Beardsley was named the MIAC Female Swimmer of the Week.

Among the upperclassmen, Christina Roberts '08 and Jessie Gibbons '10 finished strong in the freestyle events, while Jamie Fredeen '10 held her own in both the 100 and 200 breastrokes.

The excellent performances from both the men and women bode well for St Olaf on both the conference and national levels. Several swimmers achieved "A" or "B" national cut times, which opens the possibility of competing in Division III Nationals. Also, one cannot ignore the tenacity with which the swimmers, and especially the first-years, attacked their events.

Meanwhile, the St. Olaf divers competed in a separate meet, the St. Cloud Invitational. At the 12-hour meet, the four competing Oles held their own in the shelter of the indoors against high-level competition from Division II and Division III schools.

Alyssa Germeroth '10, Amy Phillips '08 and Millie Eggebrotten '08 dove on the women's side, while Ryan Trostrud '11 was the lone male representative able to make the trip.

Eggebrotten barely missed an opportunity to move into the finals on the one-meter board, but advanced along with Germeroth in the three-meter dive. Germeroth was an All-American on the one-meter board last year and gained honorable mention status on the three-meter board.

"The meet went well," coach Gabe Korteum said. "It lasted forever, but it went well."

Both the swimmers and divers compete next in a home meet against St. Benedict Friday at 6 p.m.

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