It seems that no team, men’s or women’s, is in the same class as Grinnell’s swimming and diving team. The Pioneers swept away competition with their home pool advantage as both the men’s and women’s team cruised to first place finishes at the Pioneer Classic at the Russell K. Osgood Natatorium last weekend.
“Everyone did their best,” said Beth Tsuha ’17. “No one gave up, everyone kept trying and everyone kept a positive attitude. We kept each other motivated.”
The men’s team obliterated the competition, with a cumulative score of 1,488 points. The closest runner-up, Nebraska Wesleyan University, scored only 861.
On the women’s side, the other teams were able to make the meet competitive, although the Pioneers still won with a strong lead, accumulating 1,385 points. Runner-up Carroll University finished with 1,223.5 points.
Although the victories were a team effort, there were nonetheless individuals who stole the spotlight.
The women had an astounding eight individual competitions. Tsuha won three events on her own (the 200, 1650 and 100 freestyle). Maddy Pesch ’16 and Maria Venneri ’18 each won two events a piece: the 100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke and the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke, respectively. Anna Rose Galloway ’18 rounded out the victories with a win in the 400-yard individual medley.
For the men, Ian Dixon-Anderson ’17 won the 400-yard individual medley and the 1650 freestyle while Daniel Goldstein ’16 and Zach Laird ’17 took home gold for the one-meter dive and 200 butterfly, respectively.
Tsuha and Dixon-Anderson were both named the Midwest Conference Swimming and Diving Performers of the Week.
While Tsuha was pleased with her and the team’s performance last weekend, she has her sights set on an even higher prize.
“My goal is to make Nationals. That’s one of the goals that I’ve set for this season,” Tsuha said. She has never made Nationals before but is cautiously optimistic this year.
Head coach Erin Hurley highlights depth and inclusion as the key to Grinnell’s culture of winning.
“Depth has always been something that we value and focus on. Another goal of our team is to be inclusive. There are always ways for team members to contribute to overall goals. The team does a good job valuing that,” Hurley wrote in an email to The S&B.
While Hurley noted how happy she has been with students who have been “consistently swimming really well,” she noted in particular how happy she has been with swimmers who have made significant progress this year.
“On the boards, Michael Lee [’18] has seen incredible improvements from last season. In comparing this meet to last year’s, Tim Sherwood [’16] and Zala Tomasic [’18] swam much faster this year,” Hurley wrote.
The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams now take a short break before the new year. They will reconvene in Naples, Fla. on Jan. 7 to take on Connecticut College. Fans can see the swimmers and divers in action at the beginning of next semester at the Grinnell College Invitational on Jan. 22-23.