Scots smash records, fall in standings at conference

By William Kennedy

[img_assistfid=140alt=Sjon Swansoncaption=Sjon Swanson was one of Macalesterƒ?TMs standouts at the MIAC Championships last weekend, where he picked up All-Conference honors. Phil Chen]
Macalesterƒ?TMs swimming and diving honor roll board above the collegeƒ?TMs pool will soon undergo some serious rearranging as the Scotsƒ?TM menƒ?TMs and womenƒ?TMs teams combined to break 17 school records at the MIAC championships last weekend. MIAC swimmer of the year Heather Lendway ƒ?TM06 led the women who reached 12 of those all time best marks, while first time All-Conference swimmer Sjon Swanson ƒ?TM05 put up all five of the menƒ?TMs records.

ƒ?oeWhen we go into a meet I have supreme confidence in the team,ƒ?? head coach Bob Pearson said. ƒ?oeI have faith in [the athletes] and I have faith in them supporting their teammates.ƒ??

On the womenƒ?TMs end, Lendway, battling illness, did her part to justify that confidence winning the 500-yard freestyle (5:04.65), the 400-yard individual medley (4:38.94), and the 1,650-yard freestyle (17:32.24). All of these times were within NCAA ƒ?oeBƒ?? qualifying parameters and all set school records. Those marks also earned Lendway the first conference swimmer of the year award a Mac woman has received.

ƒ?oeSheƒ?TMs just an amazing athlete,ƒ?? Pearson said. ƒ?oeShe can do amazing things.ƒ??

Lendwayƒ?TMs teammates echoed their coachƒ?TMs sentiments.

ƒ?oeShe definitely deserved it,ƒ?? Kristin Mathson ƒ?TM07 said. ƒ?oeSheƒ?TMs been working hard all year.ƒ??

Mathson and two other members of Macalesterƒ?TMs junior class also performed exceptionally well, earning All-Conference honors. After returning from a semester abroad, Alana Mozena ƒ?TM07 placed third in the 1-meter dive, while Nancy Taff ƒ?TM07 placed second (2:27.70) in the 200-yard backstroke. Mathson took third in the 500-yard freestyle (4:47.01). Pearson said he would have to go way back in the archives to recall another time when the Scots had four All-Conference swimmers.

Despite these and other solid performances the Scots finished fifth out of 11 teams, one place behind St. Benedictƒ?TMs, a team Mac beat last year. Mac posted 364 points to St. Benƒ?TMs 460.5 a difference which is explained in large part by the fact that Macƒ?TMs rival had an influx of recruits this season. For the Scots, however, this meet was not about the place, Pearson explained, rather it was about, ƒ?oeDid we do what we were capable of?ƒ?? The coach seemed pretty confident in his response. ƒ?oeI think we did that,ƒ?? he said.

Like the women, the menƒ?TMs team dropped a place from last yearƒ?TMs standings finishing seventh out of eight teams. That fall in the rankings however, did not mar the accomplishments of Swanson, the leader of the menƒ?TMs team. Plagued by injuries throughout the first three years of his career, Swanson got his chance this season, coming up big at the championships.

ƒ?oeTo end your career by setting five school records, thatƒ?TMs a real tribute to him,ƒ?? Pearson said.

Swanson set school records in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:13.02), the 200-yard individual medley (2:17.12), and earned his All-Conference award by setting a school record mark in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:00.17).

Rounding out the awards for the Scots was coach Pearson, who was voted the MIAC womenƒ?TMs coach of the year by his peers for the fourth time in five years. In the off-season, the coach will need to show just how good he is when it comes time to replace Swanson and Lendway.

ƒ?oeWe feel pretty good about our future,ƒ?? Pearson said, but recruits will be a high priority, especially for the men who did not field a full squad this year.