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Mad Dogs take 2nd, Ducks 4th at Grinnell Invite

By Omeed Kashef

The Grinnell Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams kicked off their second semester with dark tans and bleached hair. From the looks of it, winter break in Florida was a day at the beach for the 53 Mad Dogs and Ducks who traveled down south, but Pun Winichakul ’13 set the record straight.

Martha Reilly ’12 swims the butterfly during last Saturday’s Grinnell Invitation last weekend in the Russel K. Osgood Pool – Andrew Kelley

“Two-a-days started with boarding a bus, ready to go at 6:30 a.m. It was really exhausting and it was a lot hotter than last year,” Winichakul said. “You get to know everyone a lot better, especially since you’re living with them for two weeks, which makes our team bond much stronger.”

Upon returning to Grinnell the swimmers were sore from winter break but performed superbly at the Grinnell Invitational—an invite that brought more than 320 athletes from 19 different schools. The men placed second out of seven teams and the women were fourth in a field of twelve.

Michael Brus ’14, who was named the Midwest Conference (MWC) Men’s Swimming and Diving Performer of the Week for the third time this season, represented Grinnell College well by winning the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:15.58, missing the school record by less than .30. Brus also took first in the 200-yard backstroke in 1:56.07, just .19 away from the all-time Grinnell best. Also capturing first was Men’s Team Captain Cy Mistry ’11 in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:00.40.

Grinnell was second in both relays, with Brus, Mistry, Emanuel Spooner ’13 and Marco Fulgoni ’12 as runner-ups in the 200 medley event in 1:39.07 and Ethan Drutchas ’13, Joe Lytle ’14, Fulgoni and Brus earning second in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:15.38.

Morgan Horton ’11 dives into the pool as other Pioneer swimmers cheer her on during the butterfly leg of the 200-yard medley relay on last Saturday in Russell K. Osgood Pool – Andrew Kelley

Tom Lankiewicz ’12 also came in second in the 400 Individual Medley (4:24.46). Beck Ringdahl-Mayland ’13 was third in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.44) as was Drutchas in the 50 freestyle (22.51).

While Gustavus Adolphus College won the seven-team meet with 1312.50 points, the Grinnell men’s team came in second with 1254.50 points

On the women’s side, Imelda Wistey ’14, who qualified for Nationals earlier in the year in the 100-yard breaststroke by breaking NCAA provisional A cut qualifying mark, continued her domination with a time of 1:04.17. She also washed away her competition in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:39.92, just .60 away from the Grinnell school record.

Kelly Bruce ’12 dove to victory from the three-meter board with a score of 386.20 and Morgan Horton ’11 was runner-up for in the 100 Butterfly with a time of 1:01.50.

Grinnell Women’s Swimming was fourth in the team standings with 556 points due to tough competitors like Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Nebraska-Omaha, who won the meet. Both are NCAA Division II teams.

The squad only has three meets left until they attempt to repeat as champions at MWC Championship meet, which will be held at Russell K. Osgood Pool on Feb. 18, 19 and 20. According to Head Coach Erin Hurley, a repeat is far from guaranteed.

“It’s going to be tough this year especially on the women’s side since we graduated lots of points,” Hurley said. “The school second to us [last year], Lake Forest, didn’t graduate any points, but we always respond well to challenges as long as we do the best we can.

Hurley sees Wistey as increasing the Mad Ducks chances of victory through more than just the points she puts on the board.

“[She] has really been helping the team and pushing everyone to do better,” Hurley said.

The role of first-years has also been critical for the men’s team.

“On the men’s side we lost a few points due to graduating seniors but there are a lot of freshman that have stepped up to fill in some big shoes,” Hurley said.

Coming back from Florida also appears to have given the Pioneers a great boost in confidence.

“Florida was great and we got in really good shape swimming twice a day,” said Jerry Brown ’14.

The team swam in the mornings and had running and core workouts in the afternoon.

“I’m in great swimming shape but very sore from break. However, we’re starting to taper since it’s a few weeks till conference, which will help cut a lot off our time,” Brown said.

Tapering consists of a gradual decrease in yardage of swimming over a week or more to reduce lactic acid fermentation in muscles.

The Pioneers will also be gained 16 male and female swimmers who came back from studying abroad—including Bruce, the two time MWC one and three meters diving champion.

Besides Wistey, who has already qualified for nationals, Coach Hurley also believes that Brus, Mistry and Bruce are all good contenders.

Grinnell’s next stop is the Macalester College Mini-Invitational on Saturday in St. Paul, MN.

“Right now we’re all in great shape and healthy. The rest is all mental preparation,” Brown said. “Like my father always said, ‘Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.”

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