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Swimmers discuss successful Grinnell Invitational as Spring season moves forward

Contributed photo. Beth Tsuha, ’17, won the Midwest Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Performer of the Week for the fourth time.

By Mithilia Iyer

The Grinnell Swimming and Diving team hosted the biannual Grinnell Invitational on Jan. 20 and 21. The men’s team took home the championship last year and emerged victorious once again, with the Women’s team also coming in a close second to Nebraska Wesleyan University. Eight events records were either broken or tied on the men’s side alone at this competitive meet.

“A lot of teams come to this meet after they’ve been resting up for a bit. It’s a very popular meet,” said Ian Dixon-Anderson ’17. Dixon-Anderson was the runner up in the 400-yard individual medley and the 1650-yard freestyle events at the Invitational. “It’s fun, it’s fast because a lot of teams have come off training and having a large invitational like this creates an environment where people want to go fast. Seeing one record go down makes people want to swim better.”

Contributed photo. Joshua Tibatemwa, ’19, swims in last week’s Grinnell Invitational.

As the Midwest Conference Final approaches in February, this momentum is exactly what is needed for the team to defend their title from last year.

“We’re trying to use this as a stepping stone, and take time as Conference comes up to create a mental race for ourselves, so that we can perform better when we’re rested. I hope to go out as a senior and see people do their personal bests and even make national cuts,” Dixon-Anderson said.

The Women’s team had a highly successful meet as well, and finished as runner ups. Ana Karin Kozjek, ’17, Anna Billy, ’20, Maria Venneri ’18 and Beth Tsuha ’17 won the 800-yard freestyle relay, a performance that helped move Grinnell into second place in the team standings on the very first day. Tsuha, a graduating senior and an outstanding performer this meet also won the 100-yard breaststroke and placed second in the 200 breast stroke and 400 medley relay. Overall, the women’s team won and placed well in several events, ultimately securing a 400-point margin between them and third place Coe College.

“Winning first place itself isn’t a great representation of how we did as a team, because a lot of individuals had great swims and brilliant performances and dives last weekend,” said Tsuha.

This series of good performances comes off the back of the Pioneers’ return from Naples, Florida, where they have an annual training trip over winter break. The daily practices and rigorous exercises were put to good use, and Tsuha added “we also each had two individual practices after we returned and worked on technical aspects of our swimming.”

Preparation for the Midwest Conference is well underway, and the promising results of the women’s team at the Invitational certainly bodes well for the future. Training at this point for both the teams involves tapering off from intensive practices and resting up in order to perform in the best way possible. The teams have also hosted team meetings to define goals and determine the best way to accomplish them.

“The team is in a really great spot at the moment, and I am excited to see what our members can do next. Personally, I hope to make this my best season yet, and I would love to see us win the Conference as a Women’s team,” Tsuha said.

Both the Men’s and Women’s team swept honors this week, as Tsuha won the Midwest Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Performer of the Week for the fourth time. Will Lindell, ’19, won Invitational the 200 yard breaststroke and was named Midwest Conference Men’s Swimming and Diving Performer of the Week for Men.

Grinnell’s swim team will race against Macalester College tomorrow, Jan. 28.

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