Swimming and diving teams finish season

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Photo Courtesy of Luther College Swim and Dive Facebook

The Swim and Dive teams finished out their season at the Liberal Arts Championship.

The Luther Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams participated in the Liberal Arts Championships Swimming and Diving meet from Feb. 12 to Feb. 15 in Elsah, IL. The championship was the last meet of the season for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams.

The meet featured 11 colleges across the Midwest.The women’s team finished runner-up with 453 points, while Coe won the conference meet with 536 points. On the men’s side, Luther finished fourth as a team with 497 points and Illinois Institute of Tech won with 757 points.

Head Coach Aaron Zander (‘10) was happy with the results after the meet.

“The meet went exceptionally well,” Zander said. “Across the board, the swimmers had lifetime bests, collegiate bests, and dropped time from last season.”

Peder Smith (‘20) led the way for the men, placing 10th overall. He advanced to three finals, placing sixth in the 200 yard backstroke, fifth in the 200 yard individual medley, and winning gold in the 400 yard individual medley with the second fastest time in Luther College history.

Jackson Gergen (‘22) finished 15th overall, earning a silver medal in the 100 yard breaststroke, and Matthew Staver (‘20) finished 16th overall, earning bronze in the 200 yard fly. Landon Albro (‘21), in his first year diving, placed 18th overall and received two gold medals for the 1M dive and the 3M dive.

For his performance, Albro was named the Liberal Arts Championships Men’s Diver of the Meet, and Luther Diving Coach Dave Happel was named the men’s diving coach of the meet.

For the women, 13th place finisher Linnea Lee- Brown (‘21) led the way with two fourth place finishes in the 100 yard freestyle and the 100 yard fly, and a silver medal in the 50 yard freestyle. Anna Thomley (‘23) placed 15th overall, earning bronze in the 1650 yard freestyle. Greta Brua (‘22) rounded out the Luther women’s top 20 finishers with an 18th overall finish and personal best times in the 200, 500, 1000, and 1650 yard freestyles.

For Brua, beating previous records is it’s own reward.

“I think it’s just beating all our times,” Brua said. “Setting a record for yourself is a reward

for working hard and pushing yourself, even if it’s mentally defeating and physically defeating.”

Of Brua’s personal bests, eight have come at the Liberal Arts Championships over the last two years.

Kyle Anderson (‘21), who finished 39th overall, was more focused on just being competitive, even if Luther may not be the fastest team in the conference.

“It’s true that some of these teams are extremely fast, maybe even too fast for us to beat,” Anderson said. “That doesn’t mean we can’t try. We will put everything we have left into the water. Our goal isn’t just to win but to have a good race against another swimmer. As long as we swim well and have a good race against other swimmers we don’t care if we win or lose.”

Anderson finished in the finals of the 1650 yard freestyle, and the 100 yard fly, placing 5th and 8th respectively.

For all of the hard work and dedication, Zander emphasized how proud he was of this year’s team.

“The camaraderie, enthusiasm, and passion from the team stood out to me the most,” Zander said. “The group has long been known as a family, and it stood out during the meet and throughout our season. This group of athletes cares deeply about each other and pushes each other day-in and day- out to achieve their goals.”

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