Viking swimmers take third at MWC Championships

Lawrence swimmers close the season at third place.
Tariq Engineer

Lawrence swimmers close the season at third place. (Andy York)

The Midwest Conference Championships held at Grinnell last weekend brought a close to the varsity swimming season. The Lawrence Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams both placed third in the team standings, with Grinnell winning both team titles. The men’s team was in second up until the second to last event of the championships, the men’s 200-yard butterfly.

Lawrence had just one swimmer, whereas Lake Forest had four swimmers in the event, with three of them finishing 1-2-3 to enable Lake Forest to overtake Lawrence in the standings.

What ultimately cost Lawrence the chance of finishing second was the disqualification of the men’s 400-yard medley relay team on Friday for jump starting. With a good finish in the relay, the men could have maintained their advantage over Lake Forest and made it that much harder for Lake Forest to make up ground.

The disqualification also halted the momentum Lawrence had built up by starting the championships on the best possible note. Lawrence finished 1-2 in the fourth and fifth events of the Championship.

First Tom Carroll led Adam Kolb to the finish line in the men’s 500-yard freestyle event. Then Jodie Primus won the women’s 200-yard IM event, with Tiffany Pannier taking second to give Lawrence back-to-back 1-2 finishes.

Primus went on to add the 100-yard breaststroke to her collection, and also finished third in the 400 IM. Primus’ two victories gave Lawrence its first women’s conference champion in any event since Alyssa Bonine in 2000.

Carroll dominated the men’s 1650, as expected, and his time of 16:29.79 earned him a provisional qualifying spot for the NCAA Division III Championships.

Carroll’s time was also just a 10th of a second off Daniel Hurley’s conference record time set back in 1999.

A second place in the 200 freestyle rounded off Carroll’s championships.

Lawrence’s other individual conference champion was Nick Heuer, who won the 100 breaststroke for the second consecutive year.

He also took second in the 200 breaststroke, losing the race by just one hundredth of a second.

The men’s 800 freestyle relay team of Carroll, Kolb, Chris Perry, and Steve Wolfe won the title with a time of 7:08.47.

Aside from the conference winners, Tom Towle was second in the three-meter diving and third in the one-meter diving. David Danenhower placed second in the 400 IM, and Perry was third in the 100 butterfly. Stephanie Novakov grabbed third in 1650 freestyle. Three other men’s relays finished in the top three, with the 400 freestyle relay taking second, and the 200 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay both taking third.

Two women’s relays placed in the top three. The 400 freestyle relay was third as was the 800 freestyle relay.

When asked about his team’s performances, Coach Kurt Kirner had this to say: “I felt we performed well. We knew about where we would place going into the conference championships. I feel most of the swimmers would agree their tapers were where they needed to be.”

Kirner went on to add, “I’m looking forward to next year as well. I think we have the nucleus of a really good swimming program and with the added experience everyone has gained from this year’s championships, next year should produce good results for us.