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The Scarlet & Black

Swimming and diving win Conference

Cassidy+Peterson+%E2%80%9917%2C+Katy+Parrish+%E2%80%9918+and+Tiffany+Nyugen+%E2%80%9916++%28from+left+to+right%29+cheer+on+their+teammate.+%0APhoto+by+Xiaoxuan+Yang
Cassidy Peterson ’17, Katy Parrish ’18 and Tiffany Nyugen ’16 (from left to right) cheer on their teammate. Photo by Xiaoxuan Yang

Sam Curry

currysam@grinnell.edu

Cassidy Peterson ’17, Katy Parrish ’18 and Tiffany Nyugen ’16  (from left to right) cheer on their teammate.  Photo by Xiaoxuan Yang
Cassidy Peterson ’17, Katy Parrish ’18 and Tiffany Nyugen ’16 (from left to right) cheer on their teammate.
Photo by Xiaoxuan Yang

The Russell K. Osgood Natatorium was the place to be for aquatic enthusiasts last weekend as Grinnell hosted the men’s and women’s Midwestern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships. The air was alive with chants and encouragement from teammates and fans, and thick with the smell of chlorine. Swimmers and divers were perched on the edge of the pool, cheering on their teammates and getting splashed with water. In this collegiate cathedral of competition, the Grinnell men’s and women’s teams proved victorious.

The women’s team produced an authoritative victory to claim another MWC crown, defeating runner-up Carroll University by a score of 946.5 to 632.5. After claiming the MWC title in 2013, the men have placed second behind Lake Forest College the past two seasons, and came into the Championships looking for revenge. And revenge they found, defeating Lake Forest 904.5 to 875.5 on the way to their 13th Conference title in the past 15 years.

On the last of three days of competition, the women won three events to propel them to victory, and set a number of records along the way. MWC Women’s Swimmer of the Year Maria Venneri ’18 set a Conference and school record with her time of 2:02.27 in the 200-yard backstroke. Her time was good enough to make the NCAA “B” cut, meaning she may qualify for nationals, pending on the finishes of other conferences’ finals.

“Maria Venneri had the meet of her life with three ‘B’ cuts, swimmer of the meet, and we’ll find out Monday if she makes Nationals,” said head coach Erin Hurley.

Beth Tsuha ’17 also set a school record time with her time of 53.10 in the 100-yard freestyle. If this wasn’t enough, Tsuha, along with Haley O’Neill ’18, Ana Kozjek ’17 and Chloe Briney ’17, won the 400-yard freestyle relay easily.

“I haven’t been a part of that relay before,” O’Neill said. “I think relays are my favorite, because your performance matters but also it’s about points for the team.” 

The men’s team also won a number of events to put them on top. MWC Men’s Swimmer of the Year, Thomas Robinson ’16, won the 1650-yard freestyle, with Josh Cottle ’18 finishing second. Ian Dixon-Anderson ’17 won the 200 butterfly and Tristan Knoth ’17 won the 100-yard freestyle. This win gave the Pioneers an extra boost because Knoth was not expected to win the race.

“Tristan won, and we did not expect to win that event, and that was massive because Lake Forest had the top two seeds and us winning was just a massive turn,” said Aalton Lande ’17.

Lake Forest was the men’s primary competition for the title, and the match up between the two of them was remarkably close throughout the three days of competition. The incentive to perform well lasted through the final event, a thrilling relay that the Grinnell men lost seemingly by the length of a fingernail.

Other men’s team honors included Daniel Goldstein ’16 named the MWC Diver of the Year and Erin Hurley named the MWC Men’s Coach of the Year.  Goldstein will be diving in Regionals this weekend and Hurley chalked up the success of the dive team to diving coach Michael Retelsdorf.

“What he was able to do with the divers in just one season was amazing,” Hurley said.

Although the Pioneer swimmers were glad that their season ended as successfully as it did, they are still sad to see it come to an end.

“The men’s and women’s teams practice together and the only division we have is we are scored differently … We have the same traditions, just different locker rooms … That’s an automatic 80-person family,” O’Neill said.

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