Luther College Chips

Swimming & Diving splash into their season against Nebraska Wesleyan University

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Swimming & Diving splash into their season against Nebraska Wesleyan University

The Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving team open their season at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

The Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving team open their season at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Photo courtesy of Luther Swimming and Diving Instagram

The Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving team open their season at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Photo courtesy of Luther Swimming and Diving Instagram

Photo courtesy of Luther Swimming and Diving Instagram

The Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving team open their season at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Emily Kidwell, Staff Writer

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The Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams opened their season with two dual meets against Nebraska Wesleyan University on Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6 in Lincoln, Nebraska. The women’s team lost 90-85 on Friday and won 130-109 on Saturday. The men’s team lost 124-60 on Friday and lost 141-99 on Saturday.

Since NWU’s initiation into the American Rivers Conference in 2016, Luther has not competed against NWU to open their season. According to Assistant Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Coach Sam Williams, this meet was a different start for the team’s season.

“Nebraska Wesleyan is a team we typically only see at invitationals — both our midseason meet and our championship meet,” Williams said. “This was one of our first chances in recent history to swim against them in a dual meet.”

The meet began at 6 p.m. on Friday. The women’s races were before the men’s races in all 12 events on Friday. The women’s team received first place in three of the 12 events.

The women dominated the 100 yard backstroke and 100 yard butterfly on Friday. In the 100 yard backstroke, Elena Dooley (‘19) placed first with a time of 1:05.58 and Greta Brua (‘22) took second place with a time of 1:08.76. Linnea Lee-Brown (‘21) swam her way to a first place finish in the 100 yard butterfly with a time of 1:02.21 and Martha Stelter (‘19) stole second with a time of 1:15.15.

The women’s 200 yard medley relay team of Dooley, Emma Shumate (‘22), Lee-Brown, and Lilly Anderson (‘22) raced to a first-place finish with a time of 2:00.93.

Friday’s men’s competition had a strong showing from the NWU Prairie Wolves sweeping first-place in all but one event.

Before swimming his 50 yard freestyle, EJ Kohner (‘19) focused on having a no expectations mindset.

“I knew going into the meet that Nebraska Wesleyan had a lot of swimmers that would be some of our top competition,” Kohner said. “Coming into the meet with zero expectations let me and my team swim fast and leave it all in the pool.”

Kohner touched the wall first in the 50 yard freestyle, clocking in at 22.69 before NWU’s Carter Lyons finished with a time of 22.83. 

The men’s team had six second-place finishes on Friday — two of which were relays. The 200 yard medley relay foursome of Landon Albro (‘21), Jackson Gergan (‘22), Patrick Garin (‘20), and Kohner posted a second-place winning time of 1:43.39. Another relay team composed of Albro, Matt Benson (‘22), Garin, and Soren Gloege Torp (‘21) competed in the 200 yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:35.16 for second-place. For the individual second-place performances, Benson finished in the 200 yard freestyle with a time of 1:55.93, Kyle Anderson (‘21) in the 1000 yard freestyle posting a time of 11:35.39, and Kohner in the 100 yard freestyle at 49.80.

Saturday’s competition saw the women take home five individual first-place finishes. Lee-Brown won in the 50 yard butterfly with a time of 27.40. The Norse took the first three places in the 100 yard freestyle with Lee-Brown in first at 56.90, Brua in second with a time of 1:02.28, and Shumate securing third in 1:02.57.

The three other first-place finishers were Lee-Brown in the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 25.62, Dooley in the 100 yard butterfly at 1:11.73, and Anderson in the 100 yard breaststroke in 1:18.74.

Leading up to her first-place finish, Lilly Anderson reflected on the work she’s done preseason.

“It’s hard work and there are a lot of early morning practices when you have to be there by 5:45 a.m.,” Anderson said. “But it’s not too bad…everyone is super positive and encouraging, so it makes it easier to get through the difficult practices.”

The last day of men’s competition also had many Luther victories. Kohner swept the competition with a first place finish in the 100 yard freestyle with a time of 49.93 and again in the 50 yard freestyle posting a time of 22.71.

Kohner, Benson, Isaac Christopherson (‘22), and Gergan won the 400 yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:23.39. Gergan had an especially successful first meet taking first-place in the 50 yard breaststroke in 29.09 and in the 100 yard breaststroke with a final time of 1:03.77.

According to Williams, the team’s competitive showing at this meet is telling of the team’s growth to come throughout the season.

“I’m excited to see how the team progresses as the season continues moving forward and as they become more confident in their training and racing capabilities,” Williams said.

The next meet for both swim teams is on Oct. 20 in St. Paul, MN against the University of St. Thomas.

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