Allison Fajt – Staff Writer
The Women’s and Men’s swim and dive team has a great start to their season this weekend with a home victory. Morningside University simply was no match for Gustavus in the water. The Gustie women ended the meet with a score of 108-88 and the men ended 126-69.
“Honestly I think the teams we will be competing against later in the season will be a little bit tougher. We’re about double the size of Morningside so we had a lot more swimmers. We were mostly just competing against ourselves, but it was nice to just get some racing in with another team,” Senior Lillie Ortloff said.
“It all starts with the first event, it sets the tone for the rest of the meet so we had a good first swim and that determined the rest of the meet,” Sophomore Kieran Ripken said. The Gusties swam with the momentum from their first two events all through the meet.
“I think generally relays are more important for meets just because it’s more of a team effort and everyone gets behind the lanes and cheers for each other, it’s a good time,” Ripken said. The Gusties proved good vibes do work by placing first in their first and second events: the 200 Yard Medley Relay.
In event one, Ortloff, First-year Mikayla Witte, Sophomore Leah Soukup, and Junior Hannah Jones gilded into first with a time of 1:54.45 in the 200 yard medley. Then, in event two, the men’s team mimic the women by placing first. Ripken, Junior Dane Hudson, Junior Andrew Becker and Junior Taylor Vander Jeugdt anchoring them to first with a time of 1:35.43.
Both teams were unstoppable in almost all events with the women’s team winning nine and the men’s eight out of eleven. A double win for Gustavus yet it felt like one to the team. “It doesn’t feel like we are scored separately. Everyone is a big family and you’re cheering for everyone no matter what,” Sophomore Lucy Peterson said.
The nine events the Gustie Women placed first in were the 200 yard medley relay, 1000 yard freestyle, 200 yard freestyle, 50 yard freestyle, 200 yard IM, 100 yard butterfly, 100 yard freestyle, 100 yard backstroke, and the 500 yard freestyle. It was a team effort in order to rack up points through each event because multiple finishing places earn points.
“The mindset going into the meet was just to see what we could do to start out. It’s hard especially after all of the training to know exactly how you’re going to swim that first meet so I think it was just kinda fun and see what we can do,” Ortloff said.
“I loved getting the first couple of races in and my favorite was definitely the 200 free relay. That was my last race and relays just bring a different kind of energy than individual races because you’re up there with all of your teammates and you’re directly swimming for them,” Peterson said. Not only did Peterson compete in the 200 free relay but she placed first in the 50 yard freestyle and the 100 free.
Like the women, the men’s team edged out Morningside in almost every event including: the 200 yard medley relay, 1000 yard freestyle, 200 yard freestyle, 50 yard freestyle, 200 yard IM, 100 yard butterfly, 100 yard freestyle, and the 100 yard backstroke. The only events conceded by Gustavus were towards the end of the meet as the Gusties had many strong beginning swims.
Being such a draining sport, encouragement and teamwork are heavily emphasized on the swim team. “Physically the meets do get pretty tiring because it’s a very hard workout but even if you do start to get mentally tired your team is there to really help pick you up. Our team really does a great job of that, motivating each other and cheering will help so much if you’re starting to get tired. That really gives you the last push you need to get through your last couple of races,” Peterson said.
Lots of the Gustie’s success comes from not only their teammates’ hard work but also their attitudes. “Everyday we like to have a positive environment in our practices and that starts at the top with all of our coaches and then trickles down to the athletes, so I think most importantly we need to have fun this year,” Ripken said.