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The Scarlet & Black

Swimmers & Divers wrap up season with a strong showing at Conference Championship

Contributed photo.

By Mithilia Iyer

Grinnell College’s swimming and diving teams triumphed at the Midwest Conference this past weekend. The women’s team continued their impressive record, claiming the title for the fifth year in a row, and the men’s team successfully defended their championship as well.

“As a women’s team, I knew we were going to be strong going into Conference, and we were going to have some good races. Personally, I think this was a great way to end my collegiate swimming career” said Beth Tsuha ‘17.

This sentiment was definitely reflected in the results, as Maria Venneri ’18 gained a NCAA “B” cut, and the team won three of six events on Sunday alone.

Contributed photo.

Preparation for this event is key, as it is the biggest meet that both the teams compete at. Building off hard work and intensive training throughout the season, they then taper their practice off.

“Personally, I expected to have some good swims because I’d been training hard. Most of the season was building up in terms of how much we swam. Once we returned from our Florida trip, we decreased our training. Coach Erin [Hurley]’s taper definitely helps us” said Will Lindell ‘19. Hurley also won both the MWC’s Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year awards.

Conference is spread out over three days unlike other meets. “I thought we were pretty consistent, and scored a lot of points across both the men’s and women’s team, which was good,” Lindell said.

Additionally, Tsuha added that there was not a discernable change in trajectory of the team across three days. “We had to outperform all the other teams and gain points in the preliminary rounds as well, which gave us a stronger momentum for the next couple of days”.

This momentum definitely seems to have paid off. Tsuha won the MWC’s Women’s Swimmer of the Year title, as well as the 100-yard freestyle event, missing out on the school record by only .06 seconds. Lindell, who won the men’s MWC Swimmer of the Year, shattered both the Conference and school records of the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events, comfortably ahead of a “B” cut standard time.

“Getting on top of the podium, getting first place was a goal of mine, and I hope to do it again. I think we’re set up well as a team to continue being on top of our Conference for next year as well,” Lindell said.

The Men’s and Women’s Diving team performed exceptionally as well, with Summer White ’18 winning MWC’s Diver of the Year, as well as qualifying for NCAA Regionals. The men’s team also put on a good show with Michael Lee ’18, Charlie Paquette ’19 and Jonathan Rebelsky ’20 taking third through fifth in one-meter diving.

“With diving, you have to be in an extremely neutral headspace, so the week before was calm. You can’t be focused on the dive itself, so you have to rely on muscle memory,” Lee said.

Preparation for the team varies from that of the swimmers as well, and seems to have definitely contributed to a stellar meet. “The swimmers all mention the phrase ‘last one, fast one’ when talking about their senior goals, and though this obviously does not apply to diving, I want to do so as well as a rising senior. I want to work hard, and hope to see the team do so as well” Lee said.

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