The Lawrence Swimming & Diving team traveled all the way to Grinnell, Iowa to compete in the three-day Midwest Conference Championships at Grinnell College and to wrap up their season. The opener day started strong; the men’s team had top finishes from the 200 freestyle relay team from freshman Tom Goldberg, sophomore Max Stahl, junior Travis Charlow and with senior Christian Bell in fifth place with a time of 1:28.91. Also, the 400 medley team of Stahl, Goldberg, Bell and freshmen Liam Wulfman earned fifth place with 3:37.60. The top individual finisher of the day was Wulfman, with a seventh place core in the 200 individual medley of 2:01.69. Overall, the men started the day strong and ended their opening day in sixth place with 89 points, Grinnell leading with 261. The women’s teams also came in to the opening day well-focused, and their team actually broke a school record on opening day! The women’s 200 freestyle relay team of freshman Bridget Duero, junior Eryn Blagg and seniors Paige Witter and Danielle Millin, broke the 20 year-old school record and took third in 1:40.06. The old record was 1:41.10 from 1997! In addition, the 400 medley team of Duero, Witter, Millin and sophomore Emmi Zheng grabbed third in 4:01.90. The top finisher of opening day was Millin who took second in the 50 freestyle in 24:60 seconds, a close second to Ripon’s Lateesha Hiser with 24:39 seconds. Witter won third place in the 500 freestyle in 5:11.73 and Zheng and sophomore Sarah Schweichart respectively finished fifth and sixth in the 200 individual medley. The Lawrence women had a wonderful opening day—ending in third place with 168 points—Grinnell in the lead with 278.5.
The second day opened for the women’s team with Zheng’s second place 100 breaststroke finish in 1:07.49, pacing all other Lawrence finishers of the day. Zheng was less than a second behind the Lake Forest winner, Lauren Dalecky, who won in 1:06.53. Millin took third in the 100 backstroke in 59:48 seconds and Witter took third in the 100 butterfly in 59:50 seconds. Freshman Elise Riggle won fourth in the 400 individual medley in 4:44.99, and the 800 freestyle relay team of Duero, Blagg, junior Emei Thompson and Witter. Thompson won third in 8:00.47. The 700 medley relay team of Miller, Zheng, Witter and Blagg also won third in 1:50.77. Our women’s team held onto their third place spot, ending the second day with 379 points, Grinnell still in the lead with 672.5. For the men, Wulfman led with a fourth place finish in the 100 backstroke in 53:69 seconds and seventh in the 100 butterfly in 53:78 seconds. Goldberg won fourth in the 100 breaststroke in 59:97 seconds and Charlow won eighth in the 200 freestyle in 1:49.69. For the 200 medley relay team of Wulfman, Goldberg, Charlow, and Bell was a third place finish in 1:38.57, and the 800 freestyle relay team of Charlow, Wulfman, Stahl, and sophomore Jordan Spalding also took third in 7:23.38. The men’s team vastly improved their second day, going from sixth to third place overall with 236.5 points, Grinnell leading with 636.
The final day in the conference was a strong finish for Lawrence; our lady Vikings won second place overall with 572 points, passing Lake Forest with 534 for our highest finish since a second place win 2009. Grinnell took the title with 981.5 points. Zheng was the top finisher with a second place win in the 200 breastroke in 2:28.34, close behind Lake Forest’s Dalecky who won in 2:24.15. Junior Rosie Bauer swam to sixth and senior Rebecca Schachtman got eighth place. Witter won third in the 200 butterfly in 2:13.03 and Schweichet won seventh, and Riggle won third in the 1,650 freestyle in 18:27.09 and Thompson won sixth. Millin took third in the 200 backstroke at 2:08.50 and the 400 freestyle relay team of Millin, Thompson, Duero and Blagg won fourth in 3:41.88. For the men it was also a solid finish: they almost passed Monmouth College and still got fourth overall with 303.5 points. The preseason poll placed us at seventh, but our Vikings defied expectations and did a wonderful job, placing our highest finish since fourth place in 2012. Grinnell took all with 949 points. Our top finisher was Stahl with a fourth place win in the 200 backstroke in 1:58.62 seconds. Our 400 freestyle relay team of Stahl, Charlow, Wulfman, and Bell swam to fifth place in 3:16.79. Wulfman said of the conference and finishing the swimming and diving season, “Having this be my first Midwest Conference Championships meet and ranking fourth against all odds and watching our women crush the competition and come in second was so exciting. There was hardly a moment over the grueling six session weekend where I wasn’t on my feet cheering for the amazing swimming that I saw out of all of my peers. It has been such an outstanding year with all of these wonderful people and I’m so proud to be part of this amazing group.”