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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Swimming Men win MWC, Women take second

By David Kim

The Grinnell men’s swimming team continued their streak of MWC dominance, winning their 11th consecutive Midwest Conference title this weekend at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. The women took second, ending their 13-year win streak.

After the meet, Michael Brus ’14 took a seat next to Morgan Bober ’12 on the bus back to Grinnell. Instead of giving details about his record-breaking performances, he praised how great all the women from top to bottom swam at the conference meet.

“If you’re swimming so incredibly well and destroying records and getting automatic qualifying times, people may think he’s cocky,” Bober said. “But all he wanted to do was compliment other people and talk about how great they were and how exciting the meet was. He is such a humble and modest person.”

Brus broke six records and earned automatic NCAA qualifications in two events in the 200-yard freestyle and backstroke

“The way everybody supports each other is incredible,” Brus said. “There’s not a person who doesn’t have someone cheering for them. The way everybody cheers and supports for each other really help us swim faster.”

Brus’s time of 4:31.31 in the 500-yard freestyle is an NCAA provisional qualifying mark, making the B cut. The time destroyed the previous school and conference record of 4:42.31 set by Dave Anderson in 1986. He made two A cuts in the 200-yard backstroke and freestyle, earning an automatic trip to the nationals. His backstroke time was 1:47.17, besting the school mark of 1:47.87 and conference mark of 1:49.46. He swam the freestyle race in 1:39.01, bettering the previous school mark of 1:42.70 and the conference record of 1:42.40.

Brus was also part of three relay teams that broke records last weekend. He teamed with Ethan Drutchas ’12, Joe Lytle ’14, and Thomas Lankiewicz ’12 to break the school and conference record in the 800-yard freestyle with a time of 6:55.97. The group of Brus, Beck Ringdahl-Mayland ’13, Austin Cote ’15, and Max Fulgoni ’12 beat the school and conference record for 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:34.25. Also, with a time of 3:07.03, the lineup of Brus, Fulgoni, Lytle and Lankiewicz broke the school and conference record of 400-yard freestyle relay.

Brus, Ringdahl-Mayland, Chris Kaiser-Nyman ‘13 and Fulgoni placed first in the 400-yard medley relay.

Fulgoni posted two first-place races in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle with times of 21.91 and 47.78, respectively. He, along with Gus Fugoni ’15, Jerry Brown ’14, and Drutchas, won the 200-yard freestyle relay.

“It doesn’t matter how slow or fast you are,” Fulgoni said. “If you’re willing to give 100 percent, you’re part of the team. And [head coach] Erin Hurley makes you want to swim faster because you don’t want to let her down.”

Hurley was named the MWC men’s Coach of the Year for the fourth time in her career.

Will Elsas ’14 pleasantly surprised many of his teammates and won the 400-yard individual medley for the men with a time of 4:25.03.

“I was most pleased with that Will won the 400-IM because it wasn’t as expected,” M. Fulgoni said. “He was so surprised and happy and it was great to see someone who’s not always at the top get that moment of glory.”

Though the women were unable to bring back the conference trophy back home for the 14th consecutive year, all swimmers swam as fast as they could and gave it all they had. And in the end, that was all it mattered.

“It was absolutely incredible,” Bober said.  “There was nothing more anyone could have done. The spirit and the enthusiasm were out of control and that absolutely blows my mind.”

Bober did break a conference record in the 100-yard butterfly, which she swam in 59.19. Nikki Pyle ’14 added two more record-breaking performances last weekend. She set a school record in the 100-yard backstroke preliminary round, which she swam in 1:01.15. She also set a new school record in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:12.37. She placed second in the latter event.

“My goal was literally just to leave it all in the pool and make sure I couldn’t stand when I finished the race, and that’s what happened,” Pyle said. “I didn’t know I was on the record time until Coach Erin told me after the race.”

Bober also won her 200-yard butterfly race. Danielle Phillips ’15 earned first place in the 100-yard breaststroke. Kelly Bruce ’12, who was named the MWC Diver of the year for the past three seasons, was victorious in a three-meter dive.

Bruce, along with Emma Falley ’15, taped their performances and sent it to the diving judges to review their dives and see whether they qualify for nationals.

“I was really impressed with Morgan’s 200 fly,” Pyle said. “It looked like she was going to get 2nd but you could tell she was just biding her time. At the 150 turn, Morgan just took off and cleanly took first.”

Summarizing the electric atmosphere and the meet might be difficult when the Pioneers produced so much positive energy, while swimming to have fun and not necessarily to win.

“My mentality was to swim as fast as possible and see what happened and I think the team’s mentality was similar,” Brus said. “Do our best and have good sportsmanship and be a classy team and cheer for both the men and women.”

To fourth-year swimmers like Fulgoni and Bober, it marks an end to one of their college experiences.

“We got second place for the first time in fourteen years,” Bober said. “There was a lot of concern about how to respond and react to that. The way in which we conducted ourselves in the face of that is incredible. It shocked a lot of people who may have for 13 years thought that we were cocky.”

Addition to how proud Bober was of the team for acting with class, she is glad that her last swim meet in college ended on a positive note.

“It’s about doing your best and the attitude of having fun and being part of something bigger than yourself,” Bober said. “Having that attitude and the full support was all that you could ask for. Five, ten years down the road, it’s not the loss that I’m going to remember. It’s going to be the friends that I made, and the atmosphere I’m going to remember.”

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    Roger MaylandFeb 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    I’m bias but the coaches, swimmers and divers are an absolute class act as a group and as individuals and represent everything that is outstanding at Grinnell. It is a real pleasure to follow these student/athletes. Congrats to the Ducks and Dawgs. Good luck to Michael Brus and the rest of the team at nationals