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The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Swimming and Diving win conference

Thomas Robinson '16 starting a race last weekend.  Photo by John Brady
Thomas Robinson ’16 starting a race last weekend.
Photo by John Brady

Grinnell’s women’s swimming and diving team have been crowned champions of the Midwest Conference (MWC) for the 16th time in the last 17 seasons. The Pioneers clinched the title at home with three consecutive days of strong swimming last weekend. With recently named MWC Women’s Coach of the Year Erin Hurley at the helm, the women cruised into first place with 1,074 overall points, dwarfing the second place team’s, Lake Forest’s, score of 786.5.

The Grinnell women set a number of MWC records over the weekend. Maria Venneri ’18, who swam a 2:03.89 in the 200-yard backstroke, broke the previous record of 2:04.49 that she had set earlier in the day during the preliminaries.

The women excelled in team events as well. The 400 freestyle relay team of Beth Gillig ’15, Chloe Briney ’17, Haley O’Neill ’18 and Beth Tsuha ’17 swam to a record-breaking finish of 3:32.60. The previous record of 3:34.23 was also held by Grinnell. Hurley highlighted the performance of the relay teams as an example of the stellar overall performances of both teams.

“All four people on the relays have to click at the same time, and that to me is symbolic of the team. To have that synergy and have it happen when it’s supposed to happen is pretty amazing,” Hurley said.

“[It’s a] much better feeling being on a record-breaking relay team. The team is much more excited,” Venneri said.

Grinnell men’s swimming and diving team also had a strong weekend, finishing the Conference Championships in second place overall with 992 total points, just 80 points shy of first place finisher Lake Forest College. Ian Dixon-Anderson ’17 highlighted Grinnell’s meet, as he broke his own MWC record in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 16:00.65. Dixon-Anderson’s previous MWC record was 16:03.54.

Another standout was Daniel Goldstein ’16, who was crowned the MWC Men’s Diver of the Year for the second year in a row. Goldstein had spent the fall in Budapest, Hungary and was especially proud of his one-meter dive where he broke conference and pool records by a mere .35 of a point.

“It’s really great, especially after being abroad and being able to actually improve,” he said.

The men and women both believe that Hurley deserved to earn the Coach of the Year honor.

“She’s awesome,” Goldstein said, “she’s goofy and really fun to work with.”

“She is obviously an amazing coach. For her to be able to coach that many people takes a lot of dedication,” Venneri said.

Ian Dixon-Anderson '17 swimming last weekend.  Photo by John Brady
Ian Dixon-Anderson ’17 swimming last weekend.
Photo by John Brady

Assistant coach Tim Hammond echoed the sentiment of the students.

“Erin Hurley led our team throughout the season to achieve the success we have,” Hammond said.

But despite the praise, Hurley was humble about the honor.

“The swimmers and divers make the coaching staff look good. It’s an honor for our program, but unfortunately they just recognized the head coach but there would not be that recognition without the whole staff,” Hurley said.

All of this success has both the men and women excited for the rest of the 2014-2015 season, which could culminate with select swimmers making it to the 2015 NCAA Division III National Swimming and Diving Championships in Houston, Texas next month.

“There is certainly excitement,” Hammond said. “Our swimmers will pick up their training in order to prepare for the national championships as they wait for the invitations to the National meet to be presented.”

Even with Nationals on the horizon, however, the Pioneers are taking nothing for granted. Swimmers and divers are still focused on next week’s Grinnell Last Chance Invite and the Regional Championships for Divers.

“While we prepare for [Nationals] we will also be preparing for the meet this weekend that will give our team one more chance to show what they can do this season,” Hammond said.

Goldstein clarified that he has not yet qualified but hopes to do so with a top three finish in next week’s regional meet.

The Grinnell Last Chance Invite begins this Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Bear.

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