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ISSUE 121 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 3/21/2008

Youth makes the difference

By Mara Fink
Associate Editor

Friday, March 21, 2008

St. Olaf sent a trio of young talent to the 2008 NCAA Division III Women's Swimming and Diving Championships held last weekend at Miami University of Ohio. First-year swimmers Alli Beardsley and Kjersten Grinde, along with diver Alyssa Germeroth '10 rounded out the Ole fleet.

Beardsley swam the 200-yard Individual Medley (IM), 400 IM and 200-yard breaststroke, placing 28th, 20th, and 27th, respectively. Grinde placed 47th, 22nd, and 30th in her events, the 50 freestyle, and the 100-and 200-yard breaststroke. Germeroth, an All-American a season ago, placed 13th in both the one-meter and three-meter dives.

Beardsley said the experience of being at nationals as a first year was exciting. "One of the best parts of the experience was all the amazing swims I got to witness. I thought I swam really well in a different setting than I was used to, but watching all these amazing women athletes swim so exceptionally well really pumped me up for next year. It was really inspiring," Beardsley said.

Beardsley and Grinde were among only a handful of swimmers from other Division III colleges around the state; Germeroth was the only diver from Minnesota. Most of the other Minnesota swimmers hailed from Carleton, while St. Thomas sent one.

Coach Dave Hauck said the prospect of being one of three other swimmers from one's school could be intimidating for first-time national competitors. "I think what's difficult for first years is that they've never been to a meet of this magnitude. It's difficult because you don't have your team with you. We go down there and who's cheering for you? It makes a big difference," Hauck said.

However, according to Beardsley, being able to connect with other swimmers from around the state helped combat this lack of team. "The women on the Carleton and St. Thomas teams were great to be with. We all were there for each other and having women from other teams in the MIAC behind our lanes supporting us was great. It really showed me what this conference, division and the whole sport of swimming were all about," she said.

The swim season started Oct. 1 for the team, but captain's practices began even earlier in September. In order to make it to nationals, each swimmer had to make either a provisional time or an automatic cut sometime during the season.

If they made the time required for the provisional cut, or "B" cut, they would have to wait to see if they were fast enough to get into Nationals later in the season. If they are selected, they can swim in the event they were selected for and any other event in which they made the provisional time.

However, if they make the automatic cut, or "A" cut, they would automatically be qualified to swim that event at Nationals and any other event in which they made either an automatic or provisional cut. However, each swimmer can only swim in up to three events.

In order for divers like Germeroth to make it to Nationals, they send in videotapes of their dives and make a certain score cut at least twice during the year. Then a panel reviews the tapes and sends about 22 divers to the national competition.

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