Matthew Olson – Staff Writer
The Gustavus men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams opened their season Saturday at home against UW-Stevens Point and MSU-Mankato. The Gustie men defeated UW-Stevens Point 160-157, while the Gustie women lost to the Pointers 175-144 and the Mavericks 238-79.
Junior Matt Strom led the way for the men by winning the 200 free in 1:46.60 and the 500 free in 4:45.76.
“[The] 200 and 500 have been my events for a while but the 500 is probably my number one event. It would be either that or the mile but I definitely prefer the 500 a lot more. I was super happy with how stuff went, though. They’re good swimmers so it was nice to see the meet wasn’t super close but it also wasn’t a stomping either,” Strom said.
Mary Strom read the website recap of the meet and saw Strom performed well.
“Way to go, Matt!” she said.
Two more Gustie wins came from Senior Callen Zemek who won the 1000 free in 10:03.09 and Junior Peyton Richardson who won the 100 back in 54.06.
The diving Gusties also had a win from Junior Andrew Jensen, who took the number one spot in the one-meter diving event with a score of 232.45. Jensen was the only Gustie on the men’s diving team for this meet.
In swimming, Senior Dane Hudson won the 100 free in 47.97. A win from Sophomore Nyden Hill in the 200 breaststroke in 2:14.88 and another from Senior Erik Small in the 200 IM in 2:01.10 brought the Gustie men to seven total wins in individual swims.
The defending MIAC champions continued their dominance into the new season, taking home the win in the 200 free relay. The team comprised completely of returning athletes from last year’s relay team: Hudson, Junior Kieran Ripken, Small, and Senior Andrew Becker who won in 1:25.37.
“We actually had the same group swim the 200 relay last year at Conference. Obviously anything can happen over the course of the year, but I think it was a pretty solid relay this past weekend and we picked up where we left off. And it’s just a strong team overall, top to bottom. We got a lot of people that can swim a lot of different things at a high level so it’s a very versatile team and versatile group we have this year,” Ripken said.
The Gustie women could not pull out as many victories, though there were a few highlights. Sophomore Marit Isaacson won the 400 IM in 4:45.55 and Junior Lucy Peterson tied for 1st in two events: the 100 free with a time of 54.99 and the 50 free in 25.12 to pace the Gustie women.
Other highlight performances include Sophomore Teegan Jass taking 3rd in the 1000 free in 11:38.32, Sophomore Mikayla Witte finishing third in the 200 butterfly in 2:24.71.
The 200 free relay team of Isaacson, Peterson, Senior Emily Pearson, and First-year Grace Wagner took 3rd in 1:41.45.
“We all had a good performance. Mankato only has a women’s team and they are Division II so it was a bit tougher for our women’s team but they held their own where they could,” Ripken said.
With the women’s team facing slightly higher competition, the performance is something to be just as proud of. Junior Emmalyn Dickerson placed 5th overall and 1st for the Gusties in the women’s one meter dive event with a score of 211.80. Junior Kaija Pratt placed 10th overall and 3rd for the Gusties with a score of 197.95.
“I was really proud of the team as a whole. Whether it was swim or dive, men’s or women’s – everyone went out and gave it their all right at the beginning of the season. It’s great to see everyone get off to a good start,” Pratt said.
The Gustie swim and dive teams will host St. Olaf this Saturday. This will mark the beginning of St. Olaf’s season as the Gustie men’s team looks to grab another win and the Gustie women’s team hopes to improve their meet record to 1-1.