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The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
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Michael Lozada
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Swim team makes annual trip south

Callie Eyman Casey ’14 swims freestyle at Grinnell Invitational. Photo contributed by Rebecca Eyman.

While most students were still on winter break, a tour bus full of Grinnell swimmers was making the 27-hour drive from central Iowa to Naples, Fla. In the sunshine state, the team pushed through its traditional 10 days of intensive training.

The team practiced twice a day, using an outdoor pool, although the weather often dipped into the 50s. After the first week, the Pioneers faced Connecticut College, ranked ninth nationally.

Ordinarily, swimming in the morning of a meet would be out of the question, but the Florida training trip is a unique circumstance, and expectations for the meet were adjusted accordingly after the Pioneers trained the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 7.

Both men and women lost 147-58 and 155-50, respectively.

“I thought the effort was there by our team,” said head coach Erin Hurley. “We were in the middle of seven consecutive practices and were pretty tired, but they responded well.”

According to Michael Brus ’14, the meet was a tough one for the crew.

“We were all swimming when we were tired,” he said. “But it was a good meet and it was a really good experience to get up and race even when we’re exhausted.”

Outside of swimming, there was plenty of free time for the athletes to relax and enjoy their time in Florida. This was an especially important experience for team newcomers.

“I think that because people were able to just hang out with everyone else and enjoy their company, people were able to take the training better,” said Ian Dixon-Anderson ’17. “I think everyone’s had a drastic improvement.”

Just a few days after returning from Florida, the team brushed the loss to Connecticut College off at the two-day Grinnell Invitational. The men’s team placed first and the women’s team fourth in a meet that brought some tough competition to the home pool. Eleven women’s teams and seven men’s teams competed.

Callie Eyman Casey ’14  swims freestyle at Grinnell Invitational. Photo contributed by Rebecca Eyman.
Callie Eyman Casey ’14 swims freestyle at Grinnell Invitational. Photo contributed by Rebecca Eyman.

The women racked up 643.5 points in their effort. Hayley Levin ’16 highlighted the women’s performance, taking fourth place in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:48:59. It was not an easy race for her, however.

“I think that was one of the hardest meets I’ve ever been to, because I was exhausted,” Levin said. “But I was able to pull it together at the end, and I did drop time in finals.”

Levin was pleased with her teammates’ work, as well.

“We did great in finals. We did what we needed to do to get into those final heats,” she said. “A lot of people dropped time from the morning, which is very hard to do.”

The men’s team finished at the top with 1244 points, comfortably above the 1022.5 scored by the runners-up, Augustana College. Brus, who qualified for NCAA Division III National Championships last year in the 400-yard individual medley, took first in the event with a time of 4:14.07. First-year standout Dixon-Anderson finished second place, half a second behind Brus. The Pioneers won several other events, including Daniel Goldstein ’16 in three-meter diving and Kevin Bennett ’16 in the 200-yard freestyle.

Both teams and their coach were very pleased with the meet results, and said they were able to take away some useful lessons for the rest of the season.

“[The invitational] is kind of a warm-up for conference because you have the same setup,” said Beth Gillig ’15.

With the conference tournament still weeks away, the team has yet to hit its taper, where practice yardage drops and competition times jump.

After the conference tournament, which both the men and women’s teams have traditionally won, Nationals await. Brus and Levin both attended the event last year and hope to do so this year. However, there is no guarantee.

“It’s really hard to tell because we drop so much season time to our conference times,” Brus said. “We have a lot of people who have the potential to.”

Grinnell’s next meet is at Macalester College on Saturday.

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