Swimming and Diving stands pat

Young talent breaks records as the men and women finish similarly to last year.


Taylor Geer

First-year Taylor Martinek celebrates her eighth place finish in the 50 meter women’s freestyle.

Jake Kjos, Senior Reporter

The MIAC championships for both men’s and women’s swimming and diving provided the backdrop for what could have been Hamline’s best finish in years. Before the meet, head coach Ryan Hawke laid out the expectations that would make this year more successful than the last.

“We want to see the men take fifth in the conference, the women to get eighth,” he said.

After last year’s finishes of sixth and tenth respectively, the team hoped to see the gains they’ve made this year by moving up in the standings at what they deem to be the most important meet.

Senior Connor Benson mentioned the laundry list of ways the team prepares for the big championship.

“It’s all about the last meet. This is the one that matters,” he said. “Shave your head, shave your body. It gets rid of the dead skin cells. We taper off our workouts. It creates a chemical imbalance. We get a lot of rest.”

Junior diver Kayla Hennum shared her perspective on the way the divers perform as opposed to the swimmers.

“For the divers it’s all about repetition,” Hennum said.

There were a few other aspects that Hennum noted were important in having a successful meet.

“Staying healthy. I’ve been struggling with injuries, just try to make it through the meet,” Hennum said.

Assistant coach and former swimmer Jerry Daniels saw ways that the team could stand out as opposed to past teams.

“There is a lot of potential to break school records. We’ve been really excited,” Daniels said.

As it turned out, multiple school records were broken during the meet: one by sophomore Hodd Gorman in the 1650 Freestyle which earned him third place honors and another by Gorman in the 200 Freestyle which was also good for third.

The first day of the meet at the University of Minnesota pool set the pace for both teams as they stuck around the marks they were looking to set. The men held up at sixth, and the women moved up a bit to start off in seventh.

Daniels talked about the importance of establishing momentum early on.

“Setting the tone the first day: if everyone’s loud, that sets the tone for the next day and the following day,” he said.

The second day of the meet yielded a similar result, as first-year Taylor Martinek also set a school record in the 100 backstroke that surpassed a record broken last year. Relays for both teams placed well throughout the meet.

On the final day of the three day meet, Hennum placed tenth in the 1 meter dive. The meet didn’t end quite as well as the teams hoped for as the men finished sixth, and the women finished ninth overall in the championship.

St. Thomas dominated the events with multiple finishers in the top eight of events throughout the entire meet. St. Thomas’ depth led them to a sweep by winning the championship on both the men’s and women’s side.

Benson outlined what the team needed to do in order to have a stronger finish.

“The biggest thing is our fringe swimmers stepping up. Sixteenth gets you points, seventeenth doesn’t. It’s been about a second’s difference between seventeenth and eighth,” Benson said.

Even though the team did not reach the goals set beforehand, the coaches and athletes have noticed a big change in the team’s demeanor.

“The attitude of the women’s team has changed. They don’t think they’re going to get beat. Now it’s ‘we have numbers, we have a chance,’” Hawke said.

Hennum made a similar observation.

“It’s a lot better than last year. In the past it’s been you go to practice and leave,” she said.

The meet concludes the season for swimming and diving as they look to move up in the standings next year.