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Wistey, Brus, Bruce go to Nationals, place

Over spring break, Imelda Wistey, Kelly Bruce and Michael Brus traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee for the Division III National Championship where all three earned All-American honors in their respective events.

Brus and Wistey made waves this season on the Grinnell swim team as first years who continually broke records, and eventually qualified for Nationals at the Midwest Conference Meet that was held at the Russell K. Osgood Pool this February. Before this year, a first year student had not qualified for Nationals at Grinnell for at least twenty years.

At the National meet, Brus placed fourth in the 200-yard backstroke, breaking Grinnell’s record as well the Midwest Conference record in the preliminaries and again in finals. His swam the race in 1:47.81 while the winner of his event, Quin Bartlett of Denison, swam 1:46.85. Brus also swam the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard individual medley (IM). The Grinnell Men’s Swim team placed 33rd in the national meet, the highest finish since 1991.

“It’s a great experience,” Brus said, “I’m glad that it’s my first year so that I’m getting used to it for harder years coming up.”

Wistey won honorable mention All-American Honors after placing 16th in her second event, the 200-yard breaststroke. She swam the event in 2:22.68, while the first place swimmer, April Whitney of Emory, swam 2:14.62. She also won All-American honors after placing third in the 100-breast stroke, which is impressive because it was not even her personal best.

“I only got a personal best in the 100-fly,” Wistey said. “I didn’t drop any time in the other two.”

The Grinnell Women’s Swim team earned 31st place at the meet, the highest finish since the Pioneers placed 17th in 1986.

“It is really humbling to be in the presence of other swimmers who also have the capacity to win,” Wistey said. “It’s just that moment of time where someone can win by just hundredths of a second.”

Kelly Bruce ’12 earned All-American Honors for her one-meter diving, scoring 371.30. She is also the first diver since 2005 to earn this recognition. She placed 14th in the event while the winner, Danica Roskos of the College of New Jersey, broke the record with a score of 519.50.

It has been years since a Grinnell swimmer has received All-American honors. Wistey is the first female swimmer since 2001, while Brus is the first male swimmer since 1991 to earn the award.

Although both first years feel the pressure of their early success in Division III swimming, they acknowledge the positive effect they could have on the overall success of the Grinnell swim program.

“I hope, along with Imelda and Kelly, it will help with recruiting other swimmers,” Brus said. “Just seeing that we are a good team and that there are good swimmers.”

Coach Erin Hurley looks forward to the upcoming years of increased focus on the Grinnell swim program. She hopes to expand upon the number of athletes competing at Nationals with the ultimate goal of becoming a nationally top 15 ranked team. She thoroughly believes that the Grinnell swimming has the opportunity to gain more and more recognition on both an individual and a team basis.

“The teams have been incredibly supportive this year for all members of our men’s and women’s teams,” Hurley said.

She also has high hopes for the three athletes who made it to nationals this year. With enough practice and three more years of competition, she believes that Brus and Wistey have the opportunity to be national champions. Even with only one year left on the Grinnell Diving team, Bruce could place as high as 8th at next year’s National Championship. The students have similar goals.

“I want to get faster,” Wistey said.

Additional reporting by Avery Rawlison

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