Allison Fajt – Staff Writer
The men’s and women’s swim and dive team ventured down to Grinnell, Iowa for a two-day invitational running Friday through Saturday. The men competed against seven other schools while the women took on ten – both Gustie teams took first overall.
The Gusties blew their competition out of the water in every event. The women placed first with a score of 1667.5, far ahead from any of their competitors. Also making a splash in the scoreboard, the men’s team racked up a total of 1507.5 points which put them in the lead.
“At the end we all got super excited especially during the relays. We were dancing and cheering and when they announced the scores we already knew what the results were but we were just happy to compete at our first travel away meet in a while,” junior Ellen Hofstede said.
Point by point the Gusties swam and drove their way to victory. Both teams ended in the lead on Friday night giving them an edge over the competition going into the second half on Saturday. Together the team competed in 42 events.
“The first day was nice and chill but we had to drive all the way there, that was a four hour drive. It does take a lot out of you mentally and emotionally because you’re also a student and you’ve got a lot of work to do especially when you’re this close to finals week, but we all went out and raced as hard as we could with the time we had and it was draining but it was totally worth it,” Hofstede said.
The swimmers were not only competing against the other schools but with themselves as well hoping to make national cuts. “Friday I did a 50 free- I got really excited because my coach was like “you can totally get the national cut, you just gotta do it,” so I got it into my head and I actually got the 50 free cut so that was exciting,” Hofstede said.
Hofstede also made the national cut in the 100-yard freestyle. The men’s and women’s team combined placed first in 23 events and kept close behind in every other event. Sophomore Andrew Jensen also secured the men’s team points by placing first in both of his diving events.
“This was our midseason meet and it was good to know where we sat for each individual swimmer, some definitely performed better than others, but we still have a lot of meets to go so this was just a checking in point,” junior Abby Yartz said.
As much as the Gusties love to swim, the team was ready to get back home once they finished. “We kept our celebration pretty short, as far as the win of that meet it was more of a relief like let’s get out of here type because it is such a long meet,” Yartz said.
“It was our first two-day meet this season so it was new for a lot of us. It’s definitely super exhausting because you finish up one day, have a couple of hours at the hotel, then early the next morning you have to go back and swim again. Normally this season so far it’s been like once we finish then we get to be done,” First-year Marit Isaacson said.
The Gusties had to build up their endurance meet by meet in order to excel at the two day affair.
“At the beginning of the season we definitely wouldn’t have been able to even finish a meet like this. It’s so much swimming one after the other. Over the course of the season we’ve had a lot of hard training and we’ve been focusing a lot on race specifics, which has really helped going into this meet,” Isaacson said.
Gustavus had won enough events at the invitational to know they had secured a team win before the last event yet that didn’t stop them from putting in their best efforts. In the final event, the Women’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay the Gusties took 1st place with a time of 3:40.08 breaking the meets record. Swimming in the relay was Isaacson, Hofstede, Sophomore Lucy Peterson, and Yartz.
Even through their tiredness and exhaustion the Gustie’s team spirit is apparent to every other team. “I actually talked to a few swimmers on other teams and they were like ‘Oh you’re that huge team, that really loud team’ and they mean that in a good way, but it is nice to be known as that group that is the positive and loud area, rather than the quiet and secluded kind of team,” Hofstede said.