Swimming and diving starts season with a splash

Zane+McHarris+%E2%80%9917+was+one+of+many+Pioneers+to+claim+victory+in+last+week%E2%80%99s+meet+against+Luther+College.+Photo+by+John+Brady.+

Zane McHarris ’17 was one of many Pioneers to claim victory in last week’s meet against Luther College. Photo by John Brady.

Last Saturday afternoon, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed against Luther College at the Russell K. Osgood Natatorium. The men came out on top, outpacing Luther College with a score of 194 to 94, while the women fell 143.5 to 156.5.

On the men’s side, notable performers were Ian Dixon-Anderson ’17, Rhett Lundy ’18 and Nick Roberson ’18. Dixon-Anderson triumphed in the 1000-yard freestyle, the 200 butterfly and the 200 individual medley. Lundy claimed victories in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes and 200 medley relay with Ben Weideman ’15, Austin Cote ’15 and Sam Ross ’16.  Roberson prevailed in the 200 freestyle, 200 backstroke and 200 freestyle relay along with Ross, Kevin Bennett ’16 and Tristan Knoth ’17.

“I don’t think there were any disappointing swims at all,” Dixon-Anderson said. “It’s been a good, fresh start to our season. [This past meet] shows that we’re committed to the team.”

Such strong performances in the first meet have certainly seemed to set a tone for the rest of the season. The fact that the Pioneers were able to beat a strong Luther team by such an unusually wide margin signifies that this year’s Grinnell team has already achieved a high level of cohesion and skill thus far in the season.

“This meet we were able to practice supporting one another, team unity and getting into that helped our team to reach and hopefully maintain our goals this season,” Dixon-Anderson said.

Zane McHarris ’17 was one of many Pioneers to claim victory in last week’s meet against Luther College. Photo by John Brady.
Zane McHarris ’17 was one of many Pioneers to claim victory in last week’s meet against Luther College. Photo by John Brady.

Other team goals include decreasing pressure on team members by making their interactions “less about the sport” and more about the membership and bonding incumbent in sports teams.

Other victories for the men included Weideman in the 100 backstroke, Cote in the 100 butterfly, Bennett in the 100 freestyle and Joshua Cottle ’18 in the 500 freestyle. Diver Zane McHarris ’17 claimed victories in both one- and three-meter dives.

On the women’s side, the Pioneers also notched impressive performances despite the loss. Standout performances from the meet included Beth Tsuha ’17, who took first in the 50-yard freestyle, the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle. Maddy Pesch ’16 finished first in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. Hayley Levin ’16 claimed a victory in the 1000 freestyle while Haley O’Neill ’18 took first in the 100 freestyle.

Although the women lost to Luther, Pesch retained a sense of excitement and hope from the women’s performances.

“Our last meet was really exciting,” Pesch said. “We were really close to beating Luther, and in the past two years we’ve been really far behind them, and they’re a nationally-ranked team. We’ve been really ecstatic about that.”

Like Dixon-Anderson, Pesch saw the first meet as a great start for the new season, and was quick to commend the team as a whole for pushing themselves during practices.

“There’s been a lot of good training,” she said. “People have been really good about working hard during training sets, which is paying off in our competitions.”

Head coach Erin Hurley echoed her players’ excitement. According to her, she hopes that the team will monopolize on the current momentum and continue to improve, get stronger, fast and work on more detailed aspects of racing.

Both squads will compete in a five-team meet tomorrow against Monmouth College, Beloit College, Carroll University and Illinois College at Monmouth College at 2 p.m.