NORTHFIELD, Minn. – It’s now how you start; it’s how you finish.
The old adage rang true today as the Carleton College men’s swimming and diving team closed its Senior Day meet against St. Olaf College in style. The quartet of Erik Klontz (Jr./Bethesda, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase), Mamoru Kanazawa (Jr./Tokyo, Japan/St. Mary's International School), Benito Ramirez (So./Saint Louis Park, Minn./Minneapolis South), and Ross Brown (So./Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chippewa Falls) prevailed in the 200-yard freestyle relay, posting a Thorpe Pool-record time of 1:25.47.
That bettered the previous standard of 1:26.57 established in 2008 by St. Cloud State University.
Prior to the day’s competition, a special tribute recognized the four seniors on the Carleton roster: Casey Andree (Sr./Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington North), Kevin Hallman (Sr./Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park & River Forest), Leo Hummel (Sr./Seattle, Wash./Garfield), and Djem Kissiov (Sr./Madison, Wis./West).
“Big congratulations to all the seniors,” said Carleton head coach Andy Clark. “It’s been a privilege and a lot of fun for all of the coaches to work with the seniors over the years. We couldn’t be more impressed and proud of that class and what they’ve accomplished.” It was an easy call for the coaches to award the “Can of Corn” swimmer of the meet award to the entire senior class.
Buoyed by the emotional start to the day, the Knights won the day’s first race, the 200-yard medley relay. Kanazawa, Jesse Gourevitch (So./Ardsley, N.Y./Ardsley), Ramirez, and Klontz finished with a time of 1:36.77. The Knights trailed by a half-second when Klontz hit the water. The MIAC’s top sprinter this year not only closed that gap but gave Carleton the win be nearly seven-tenths of a second.
Another Thorpe Pool record was broken early in the day as the Oles’ Michael Gratz won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:44.20.
Klontz notched Carleton’s next pair of first-place results. In the 50-yard freestyle, he finished with a time of 20.98 for a two-plus second triumph. In the 100-yard freestyle he edged Gratz 47.16 to 47.73.
The Knights closed the meet the way it began, with another relay victory. This one, however, was in record style. Each member of the quartet out-swam their counterparts as the quartet won by more than five seconds.
“That’s a great achievement, and the guys are rightfully very excited about it,” said Clark. The time ranks fourth on the all-time list and is the fastest non-rested relay the Knights have ever had. “The signals are there that great things could be in store.
“The goal at this time of year is to build momentum, and this was by far the best output we’ve had since coming back from the holiday break. Across the ranks we had a total of 75 season-best performances. Our teams are in a great place going into the tapering phase. We expect to see many more exciting performances in the coming weeks.”
Carleton will be in action Feb. 3-4 at the Minnesota Challenge swim meet held at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center. The MIAC Championships will be held two weeks later at the same venue.