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The Scarlet & Black

Swimmers, Divers prepare to defend their dynasty

For the past eight years, the Grinnell Men’s Swimming team has won the Midwest Conference (MWC) Championship. Even better, the Women’s team has won for the last 11 seasons—so Head Coach Erin Hurley’s goal for this season is simply, “stay there,” she said.

The squad will have its first test the weekend of Nov. 13, when they jump in the pool against the University of Nebraska’s Club team at 5 p.m. at home on Friday, Nov. 13. The next day they will travel to Augustana College in Illinois to race against the Vikings at 1 p.m.

Hurley designed the first half of the season to have harder workouts and challenging non-conference opponents in order to ready her team for when the Midwest Conference Championship rolls around in February. 

“We need to focus on what we need to do, which is get in really good shape, and then work on the fine tuning of [each athlete’s] event,” Hurley said. “Our schedule is set up so we will get pounded a few times, but we also will pretty competitive in other meets, but it’s a long road, a lot can happen between now and February.”

The difficult scheduling is an attempt by Hurley to ensure her team has the right mindset once the MWC Championship comes around. 

“As a coach, I want to make sure we are humbled a few times during the season,” Hurley said. “It doesn’t allow us to take things for granted—it shows us we still have things to work on and its motivation to keep working hard.”

In addition to the schedule changes, Hurley has made the once voluntary weight-training program mandatory for her squad. Team Captain Amy Hadow ’10 knows this could greatly help the team come later in the season. 

“I think [weight training] is absolutely necessary. Swimming is an entire body commitment. For your body to be strong enough you have to be doing abs and weight lifting,” Bober said. “The people that do really well are the ones who are committed to overall strength for their entire body, not just in the water.”The men’s team seems to set up to take a ninth consecutive MWC with some major returning swimmers as well as an influx of new talent. Senior Ian Warlick ’10 is very impressed with this year’s teammates. 

“The team looks really strong, we have a lot returning guys who are very fast,” Warlick said. “We’ve got Tom Lankiewicz [’12], he’s a school record holder in the 400 IM, Cyrus Mystry [’11] is back, he’s a national qualifier in the 100 and 200 breastroke, Nick Smith [’10] is back, and he qualified for nationals in diving last year.”

Denison University transfer Ethan Drutchas ’12, a talented sprinter, adds to the strength of this year’s team. Coach Hurley sees the possible intrasquad competition between Drutchas and her other talented sprinter, Max Fulgoni ’12, as beneficial for both parties.

“[Fulgoni] is the defending Conference champion in the 50 [freestyle], and I know Ethan is just going to make [Fulgoni] better and [Fulgoni] is just going to make Ethan better,” Hurley said.

With all this talent, Warlick says that the men’s team goals have risen to continue to challenge the team. 

“We’ve got other goals beyond just winning the conference championship,” Warlick said. “We want to break some relay records. We want to beat Luther [College]—we haven’t done that in a few years and they’ve kind of become our big rival. We don’t want to lose any of our home meets. ”

After losing some accomplished swimmers to graduation such as MWC record holder and last year’s 50 and 100 freestyle champion Valerie Stimac, the women’s team has a more difficult lane to the Conference Championship. Coach Hurley is looking to her team’s depth to score points as well as for some members to step up and have break out seasons.

“When you lose talent, it definitely opens a door and forces people to step up,” Hurley said. “But we don’t have to win a single event and we could still win conference.”

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