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The Scarlet & Black

Swimming and diving teams push through November to crush Loras

Nikki Schlegel competing in the 200-yard backstroke, which she won, on Saturday, Nov 17. Contributed photo.

By Andy Pavey

The women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams emerged victorious from their meets against Loras College on Saturday, Nov. 17, with final scores of 190-103 for the women and 175-87 for the men. 

First- and second-years contributed many of the teams’ wins. On the women’s team, November Brown ’22 won three events, and McKynley Larson ’21, Madeline Peak ’21 and Enya Gamble ’22 picked up two wins each. On the men’s team, Elisha Tibatemwa ’21 swam on the first-place 200-yard medley and won the 100-yard butterfly. Chris Zhang ’22 also won the 200-yard backstroke and swam on the winning 200-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley teams. 

“The difference in training between back home and here [has helped]. Back home, I did something called garbage yardage, [which is] doing as much yardage as you can without any set structure to practice. Here, we do less yardage, but each thing we do has a purpose to it, so it’s designed to help us improve at one thing or another,” said Zhang. 

Nikki Schlegel ’22, who won the 200-yard backstroke for the women’s team, also attributed her success at the meet to the team’s methodical training approach. 

“This season has been very new and difficult for all the first-years, but we’ve had lots of very hard training and very purposeful training,” said Schlegel. “The fun thing about meets is that you can see it all come together. I’ve been trying to give full effort at all practices, and so to see that show up at meets is very rewarding.” 

For first-year athletes still acclimating to the academic workload and social climate characteristic of Grinnell College, it can be difficult to manage the heavy schedule that athletics sometimes demand. As the semester wears on, these varied pressures can build. But women’s swimming and diving coach Erin Hurley believes the healthy sense of community and mentorship keeps the team’s spirits high and brings results. 

“November is one of our toughest months, both academically and athletically. It is long, we have competitions each weekend, the weather is changing and we step up the training because of where we are in the season. We talked about this with the team and they have done a really nice job of keeping a balanced perspective,” Hurley wrote in an email to The S&B. “We also have good leadership in the senior class.” 

“I’ve been lucky to have great teammates that I can race every day in practice, and that encourage me and push me to stick to my goals, especially through the month of November,” Schlegel said. 

The Pioneers now look ahead to the Pioneer Classic, Grinnell College’s perennial home event that draws competitors from across the Midwest Conference and beyond. The contest is scheduled for today and tomorrow. 

“[The Pioneer Classic] is the culminating event for us this semester. We are looking to put up some season-best times and diving scores. The competition will be tough … Our goals are to be competitive and utilize that competition to help us swim fast and dive well,” Hurley wrote.  

Those interested in cheering on the Pioneers can head to the Russell K. Osgood Pool at 6 p.m. on Nov. 30 and 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Dec. 1. 


Nikki Schlegel competing in the 200-yard backstroke, which she won, on Saturday, Nov 17. Contributed photo.
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