Swimming teams wrap up seasons at MIAC championships

By William Kennedy

Dives may be all the rage in soccer these days, but earlier this month, Macalester women’s swimming and diving showed that taking one still looks best in a pool.
At the University of Minnesota-hosted MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships, Mac’s top female divers combined for three top-five finishes as the women’s team placed sixth overall in the conference. At the end of the three-day event, the Macalester men finished eighth among the MIAC’s male teams.
Two of the league’s best divers during the regular season, Annie Flanagan ’09 and Alanna Mozena ’07 lived up to their reputation at the conference meet.
“We came and did what we wanted to do,” Flanagan said.
Mozena snagged a fourth place finish (345.05) in the one-meter dive, while Flanagan brought home a pair of all-conference awards with second place finishes in both the one-meter (350.85) and three-meter (365.80 ) events.
Off the board, Anna Gajewski ’10 impressed teammates and claimed all-conference honors with a third place finish in the 400 yard individual medley (4:47.80).

On a day where events went more or less as expected for the Scots, teammate Jackie DeLuca ’07 said, “[Gajewski] really knocked everyone’s socks off.”

The nautically inclined first-year also placed ninth in the 1650 yard free-style.

DeLuca herself contributed a seventh place finish in the 1650 yard freestyle and an eighth place finish in the 200 freestyle events, while Alex Cortes ’08 took fifth in the 200 yard backstroke.
In her final race, DeLuca joined forces with Cortes, Gajewski, and Angie Marvin ’09 to place fifth, while setting a Macalester record, in the 800 yard freestyle relay (8:08.28).

In her final meet as a Mac swimmer, Kristin Meadows ’07 tallied points for the Scots by winning the consolation round of the 100 yard butterfly.

On the whole, the Mac women seemed pleased with their effort during the conference meet.
“I think the team did a great job of keeping our energy up going into the second and third day,” DeLuca said. “We finished pretty much where we expected.”

Perhaps not entirely where they expected, Meadows said. “I was a little surprised that we lost to St. Thomas,” she said.
The Scots had previously beaten the Tommies, who displaced Mac as the MIAC’s reining fifth place team, during the regular season on multiple occasions. But, Meadows said, “that gives us something to look forward to next year.”

The Scots will have to pursue that goal without the help of Mozena, Meadows, DeLuca, Nancy Taff ’07 and Katherine Foley ’07 all of whom will graduate this year after distinguished careers at Mac.

On the men’s side, a small team struggled to maintain its seventh place position from last year, but fell into the eighth and final spot in the MIAC at the conference meet.
“I think the guys swam as well as they could’ve,” captain George Robbins ’07 said of the team. “We had about one hundred percent best swims.”

Among the numerous personal records set by Mac swimmers at the conference meet, Mitch Stepleton ’10 raced to a sixth place finish in the 1650 yard free style (17:10.85). Already accounting for many of the team’s points, the freshman swimmer added to this tally by scoring with 10th and 11th place finishes in the 500 yard freestyle and 400 yard individual medley respectively.
Falling well short of seventh place St. Mary’s, Robbins said that the undermanned Scots have a lot of building to do in the off-season.
“We need to recruit and get some more experienced swimmers,” he said. Robbins, a 280 pound football player during the fall season, added, “Its hard to do well when you have an offensive lineman on all of your relays.”

Despite graduating only two seniors, Robbins and David Wright ’07, the Scots will have only six retuning swimmers and divers from the 2007 season.
If the Scots hope to improve next year, much of the work will have to take place out of the pool and in the coach’s office.