The Carleton women’s swimming and diving team capped off their dual meet season Saturday by falling only two points behind St. Olaf in the team total scores. Despite the loss, spirits were high, and the team is in good shape heading into the championship meets.
Head coach Andy Clark had only good things to say. Speaking with Sports Information staff, he reflected, “Overall, this was an outstanding meet for the swimmers and divers, with numerous best performances of the season. Our starts turns and finishes looked much sharper today than they have all season. [The athletes] raced hard and closed out their races with great efforts and results.”
One race that certainly meets these criteria was the 500 free. After finishing second to St. Olaf senior Ali Beardsley in the 1,000-yard freestyle earlier in the day, Molly Spence ’13 went on to eclipse Beardsley and another Olaf swimmer for the win.
“I went into the 500 with more of an attitude of ‘this is my race,’” Spence said.
With 100 yards left to go, Spence and Beardsley were neck-and-neck. Spence attributed her win to the energy of her teammates.
“All of a sudden I heard the entire team start screaming - honestly I'd never heard them cheer that loud before, even at Conference,” she said. “That, I think, is what kept me going - I wanted to do it for everyone who was there on the side of the pool.”
Other standout performances came from Milana Socha ’14, winning the 100-yard freestyle and earning Swimmer of the Meet, and Grace Cormier ’13, who knocked off several seconds from her previous personal record in the 200 individual medley, finishing third in the event. In addition, Sophie Pilhofer ’13 prevailed in the 50-yard freestyle, remaining undefeated in the event throughout the entire MIAC duel meet season.
There were no hard feelings between the Northfield teams, and the meet ended with a decidedly friendly tone.
“The St. Olaf meet is such a great note to end on,” said Hannah Nerenhausen ’11, voicing a sentiment that may have been influenced by the baked goods the Olaf team prepared for their cross-town competition. “It’s just always a good time.”
“I love this meet so much because it's like racing siblings,” agreed Spence. “We want to beat them but we're also really happy when they do well. I think that was my favorite race of this season so far, physically and emotionally.”
Next up for the Knights is the Minnesota Challenge, which will be the last meet for many members of the team. The meet will be held at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center tonight and tomorrow.
Kate Dorwart is a member of the women’s swimming/diving team.