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The men’s swimming team won the Meet of the Saints, and the women’s team finished third Saturday at Anderson Pool.
St. Olaf, St. John’s and St. Ben’s also competed in the meet.
The Tommie men finished strong with 902 points. St. Olaf took second place with 724.5 points.
The women’s team fell just short of St. Ben’s, finishing two points back with 730. St. Olaf finished first with 756 points.
Coach Tom Hodgson said he was happy with how both teams performed.
“I was delighted to win the men’s meet,” Hodgson said. “(They) haven’t competed in a month so I know that they were hungry, and they really came out. I thought we raced really well today.”
The men’s team swam to many first-place finishes, including junior Sam Rauchwarter’s 1:44.42 in the men’s 200 yard freestyle. After the race, Rauchwarter said that he doesn’t feel like he’s arrived at his peak.
“I’m getting there,” Rauchwarter said. “I was sick last week so it was kind of a downfall.”
Rauchwarter also won the men’s 400 yard freestyle relay with sophomore Ben Henrickson, junior Patrick Dooley and junior Steve Stark.
The men’s team won the 400 yard medley relay as well. Henrickson, freshman Nathan France, senior Erik Huls and junior Michael Hoelterhoff finished the race in 3:29.61.
Although the women took third place, Hodgson believes they were “right there in the meet.”
“For us to be that close to St. Ben’s and St. Olaf, who are teams that all season long have been so much better than us on paper, (makes me) pretty excited about what’s coming,” Hodgson said.
Freshman Emily Punyko broke two records, dropping from 2:29.63 to 2:25.30 in the women’s 200 yard breaststroke and from 1:06.34 to 1:06.21 in the women’s 100 yard breaststroke.
For Punkyo, dropping four seconds in the 200 yard breaststroke was “really exciting.”
“I was kind of worried (and) really nervous, but I thought I did great,” Punkyo said.
Hodgson wasn’t surprised by Punkyo’s performance.
“I’d been expecting it. She’s been training really well,” Hodgson said.
Punkyo also swam in the women’s 400 yard medley relay with sophomore Hayley Trace, freshman Mariann Kukielka and sophomore Erin Hogan, finishing first in 4:01.90.
Punkyo, Hogan, Trace and freshman Cassy Panka came in a close second in the women’s 400 yard freestyle relay with a 3:40.79. St Olaf finished first in 3:40.13.
“Honestly, if they decide to swim fast like they did today, they’re going to be fast,” Hodgson said. “Our training is going to lead them in that direction.”
Both teams are in action Friday, Jan. 27, at home.
“(We) swam pretty lights out today so hopefully that’ll transfer over to next weekend as well,” Rauchwarter said.
In his closing words about the meet, Hodgson brought up an inside joke .
“When my father’s happy about something, he just says he’s pleased – kind of the understated sort of thing. And so we kid around the team that when I’m pleased, they know that I’m pretty happy with the way they’re swimming,” Hodgson said. “Today, I’m pleased.”
Rita Kovtun can be reached at email@example.com.