Senior spotlight: Last one, fast one

Nyden HillStaff Writer

Andrew Becker is a name that many people associate with the sports community, particularly the swimming community. The MIAC community has come to associate this name with Gustavus swimming and diving. During his tenure at Gustavus the Junior sprint standout has amassed a mountain of accomplishments, being an All-American, Conference Champion, and school record holder.

To give some background on the Gustavus Men’s Swimming and Diving dynasty, the team is returning to the pool fresh off of a 3rd consecutive MIAC Championship with their most recent victory coming in dominant fashion. Their victory gap was 299 points, which is considered a lot in swimming, especially considering that the team set a scoring record by cumulating over 1000 team points. Since the team’s founding, they have collected 24 conference titles and three Top 10 NCAA Championships finishes.

Considering this, it is pretty clear that swimming at Gustavus has been strong for quite some time. In the past 3 seasons, much of this strength can be seen in Becker and his success in the pool. Becker, a Northfield native, came into Gustavus with a best 50yd freestyle time of 21.28 and a best 100yd freestyle time of 46.86. During his first-year season, he improved those times to 21.15 and 46.49. At the conference meet, both of his performances placed him top 5 in the MIAC.

Becker’s improvement curve did not stop there. Upon concluding his sophomore year, his best times in those events improved exponentially, with a 20.58 in the 50 and a 45.27 in the 100. 

This past year, Becker solidified himself as one of the all-time greats in Gustavus with a pair of school record-breaking performances at this year’s NCAA Championships in Indianapolis. Becker threw down a 20.24 and 44.66 to break both the 50 and 100 freestyle school records at Gustavus.

The credit for this sustained success should definitely go to Becker and his never-ending dedication to the sport, but it would also be foolish to disregard the efforts of Head Coach, Jon Carlson, when talking about the continued success of the program.

“Jon is a very inspirational coach. He really tries to help you see the things in swimming that aren’t necessarily performance-based, like being a good teammate and part of a family. I think that’s the biggest thing that he’s helped give me, like being a good teammate and leading by example,” Becker said.

With all this success in the pool, Becker is sure to stay busy. Part of being a student-athlete involves balancing academics, athletics, and strong social life. Thanks to Becker, we are able to get a great in-depth look into what a weekly schedule looks like for him.

“On Monday we have practice. I’ve got a pretty consistent class schedule so I don’t have any conflicts with practices. Tuesday looks the same except we have lifting in the mornings. On Wednesdays, we get the day off. Thursday looks the same as Tuesday and on Friday we have our team meetings and full-joint practice. Normally Saturdays are meet days. On Sundays, I have a double with lifting and swimming,” Becker said.

In considering this schedule and his track record so far, Becker has some pretty lofty expectations for both himself and for the team going into his fourth and final season.

“The goal is always to win the conference but hopefully if we all put in the effort that should come pretty easily this year. The goal is also to make some noise at nationals both as a team and individually,” Becker said. 

With practices starting last Monday, the season will soon be in full swing and according to Becker everyone is excited and feeling rejuvenated with love for the sport and optimism for how the season will go.“I think we’ve got a lot of energy and people are excited to work hard and get on the grind for the season,” Becker said.

Becker was not the only Gustie swimmer to share this sentiment.

“We are all coming in hot. Everybody is ready to get going and start racing,” Senior Taylor Vander Jeugdt said.

Becker and the Gusties open the season with their Alumni meet on Oct, 8 and then host Mankato and UW-Stevens Point on Nov. 5. We wish the best of luck to Becker and the Gusties this season as they look to capture another MIAC Conference title.