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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Records fall at Ole Open

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The men’s team finished 3rd at the MIAC championships while the women’s placed 4th. The top-3 finish was the third in a row for the men, while the women took home a top-4 rank for the first time since 2013.

Swim and dive coach Andy Clark credits momentum and high skill level for the success. “Each year can build upon the momentum established in the prior year and that is exactly what the men’s team did… Most of the swimmers improved their times and when you are at the level that they are, even the small improvements can often result in significant outcomes.”

Accomplishments were equally impressive on an individual level. At the MIAC championship meet, two men’s relay teams – the 200 free and medley relays – met NCAA qualifying standards for the national champi- onships. 3 members of the men’s team and 1 member of the women’s team also met these standards.

However, the NCAA usually invites only the top 16 ranked swimmers in a given event to the championships, so the men’s team, as individuals and in the relay event, narrowly missed out. Sophomore Maria Wetzel was selected for the 200 backstroke and will compete in the final in Shenandoah, Texas in two weeks.

Said Clark, “For Maria, experience is huge and she brought a lot of confidence and determination to each race she swam.”

This year’s team achievements ex- tend the recent success of Carleton’s swimming and diving squads. In the past few years, the teams have had similar qualifying times and similar placements in MIAC’s.

Swimmers had different takes on their continued excellence. Junior Stephen Grinich cites preseason preparation as the key. “I think a lot of people stayed active in different ways over the summer, which makes a big difference.” Grinich also stressed the role of the coaching staff. “Coaches Andy, Brooke, and Gunnar deserve as much of the credit. They’re great coaches and are each exemplary role models for us.”

Meanwhile, fellow junior Eric Hazoury points to skill and improvement across classes. “The seniors really stepped it up and we got lucky with an excellent class of freshmen. The class of 2016 has now had three years to coalesce and we swam especially well with a string of best times.”

The team is looking forward to doing big things next year. Coach Clark says, Since we have most of the team returning, I am very excited about the continued success the teams can have next year.”

Hazoury has a similarly optimistic outlook. “With a solid incoming class we have the potential to do some scary stuff to teams next year. Watch 2nd place, St Olaf.”

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