ST. PAUL, Minn. – On the second day of competition at the St. Thomas Conference Invitational, Sophie Pilhofer (Sr./Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Visitation) won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 54.04, besting a pair of Division II racers from St. Cloud State University. However, this weekend was more about the 20 members—seven women and 13 men—from the Carleton College swim teams that were tapered for their final competition of the 2013.
“There were three primary goals for the teams heading into the meet,” explained Carleton head coach Andy Clark. “The first was to compete with a total team mentality. If there is one critical piece to closing any season out on a high note, it is to know you have done it as a team. No one on our program ever swims or dives alone, and this meet provided one more opportunity for our two squads to reinforce the importance of being united toward promoting that team mentality.
“The second goal was to celebrate the end of the season for the 20 swimmers who were rested and shaved for the competition. No better way to do this than to have fast times, and this group of tapered swimmers did not disappoint. Every single one of them hit season and lifetime best performances and most did that in each of their individual swims. In total, out of 58 swims from this group, 55 were best marks.
“The third goal of this competition, was to come away from this meet with a sense of physical and mental momentum as we head toward the MIAC Championships. The taper group had a charge to send a powerful message to the rest of the team to boost this momentum and that is exactly what they were able to do through their inspired swimming. Most of the conference squad members hit top season times in each of their events and the best part about this is they have not even hit the peak of their taper. From this meet, we have room for improvement and we will be looking for significant time drops from conference members at the MIAC's. Add another week plus of rest and detail work along with a good shave, there is no doubt that there will be some incredible swimming and diving at the conference championships.”
The seven tapered swimmers from the women’s squad were: Elicka Beck (Fy./Minneapolis, Minn./South), Molly Bostrom (Jr./Bloomington, Minn./Kennedy), Alison Byrnes (Jr./Olympia, Wash./Olympia), Stella Fritzell (So./Ames, Iowa/Ames), Emily Houlihan (So./Boulder, Colo./Boulder), Anne Richardson (Sr./Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing), Jesse Weaver (Fy./Minneapolis, Minn./De La Salle).
Richardson, however, is not done racing. A senior captain, she earned the final roster spot for the MIAC Championships. The Knights had one slot remaining to be filled, and Richardson hit the conference meet qualifying marks in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races.
Other top-five finishes from the weekend:
With a season-best time of 1:38.72, seniors Erin McDuffie (Anchorage, Alaska/Service) and Pilhofer joined forces with Milana Socha (Jr./Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) and Madison McBride (Fy./Elko, Minn./Lakeville South) to place second in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
Socha also took third in the 50-yard freestyle, with a time of 24.88, and was fifth in the 100-yard freestyle (54.97).
The Knights host the Northfield Diving Invite on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 6:00 p.m. Then all focus turns to the MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships that run from Feb. 14-16 at the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Center. Prelim sessions each day begin at 10:30 a.m. with the finals starting at 6:30 p.m.