Ten Tommie senior swimmers and divers were honored at the men and women’s swim and dive Meet of Saints Saturday, the final home swim meet of the year.
Seniors Matthew Moore and Becca Ney both said the meet was “bittersweet,” but fun.
Coach Tom Hodgson said, “It’s a real treat to honor these seniors. They’re just great kids.”
Hodgson said he was very impressed with the team’s results.
“We swam really, really well. Coming into this meet there wasn’t any question on paper that St. Olaf and St. Cloud were the favorites.
“I was very happy. We had just about everybody on the team get their best times of the year,” he said. “For a lot of kids, the best time of their life, which is really rare.”
Men take second overall, trailing St. Cloud by 12 points
The men scored 690 points overall, and St. Cloud State led with 702 points. St. Olaf came in third and St. John’s finished last.
St. Cloud is a D-II school, and it brought a higher level of competition, Moore said.
“It was a little intimidating,” he said. “But we matched up pretty well.”
Freshman Ben Henrickson took first in the 100 freestyle and the 50 freestyle. Henrickson edged out his competitors by a fraction of a second in both races.
Henrickson led off the 400 freestyle relay that the men took first in. Sophomores Michael Hoelterhoff and Sam Rauchwrater and freshman Max Hubbard were also on the relay team that finished with a final time of 3:10.78.
Women place third overall, take first in four events
The women placed third overall with a final score of 527.5 points. St. Cloud took first with 815.5 points, followed by St. Olaf with 734 points overall. St. Ben’s came in last place with 429 points.
“I think we did really well,” Ney said. “It’s one of the best meets of the season. Everyone had good times and swam really strong.”
Ney said it can be intimidating at times to compete against St. Cloud, but she said St. Thomas can hold its own.
“We have these great swims, and we can show them we are a D-III school and [can] beat them,” Ney said.
Ney was on the 400 freestyle relay team that took first with freshmen Hayley Trace, Lizzy Gross and Erin Hogan.
Gross also took first in the 500 freestyle event with a time of 5:19.90.
Junior Jennifer Easton took first in the women’s 1-meter diving competition with a score of 263.80 points, an impressive 36.40 seconds ahead of the runner-up.
Junior Sam Simon had a 21.11-second lead to take first in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 18:33.82.
Coach reflects on first season in Anderson pool
Hodgson reflected on the first season in the new Anderson pool and said: “Now I understand why other coaches maybe didn’t want to come and swim in the O’Shaughnessy pool. I wouldn’t want to swim anywhere else but here.
“This pool is so fast, so beautiful. Kids get inspired here, they love swimming here. And we swim really well here.”
Tommies prepare for the end of the season
Ney said that although the season is winding down, it’s exciting that the team is nearing Minnesota Challenge and the conference championships. She added that the team needs to work on “kicks and starts, and relay starts especially.”
“We can all improve on them and really help in relays,” she said. “Just keeping up with practices and stroke work, and I think we’ll do really well.”
Moore said the team needs to spend the next few weeks mentally preparing for the conference meet.
The team will keep working on what they have been doing at practices, Hodgson said.
“We work a lot on speed, and of course we keep adding to our conditioning,” he said. “A lot of what we do now is just practicing being fast. We seem to be making progress in every area.”
St. Thomas will host a diving meet 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28. The following day the Tommies head to St. Kate’s for a meet at 1 p.m.
The Minnesota Challenge will be at the University of Minnesota Feb. 4 and Feb. 5. The MIAC championships are Feb. 18 and Feb. 19. The NCAA championships are not until the end of March.
Theresa Malloy can be reached at email@example.com.