RICHARD LARKIN MCLAY • [email protected]

Senior Devin Batkiewicz finished sixth overall, third for the Johnnies, in the 100 meter butterfly with a time of 58.54.

By Kevin Dudley – [email protected]

The Johnnie swim and dive team is not where it intended to be.

However, senior Justin Wollin feels the Johnnies are getting closer to their intended destination.

“We’ve got some high expectations to climb up the ladder,” Wollin said.

The last few weeks have been up and down, with some losses coming against conference rivals but also a key win.

The Johnnies are coming off a 147-96 home loss to Gustavus. Other recent results include a loss to St. Olaf at the St. Thomas Invitational and a win over Carleton in a dual meet.

The Johnnies won eight events in route to a 163-131 over Carleton on Jan. 21 at the Warner Palaestra Pool.

Wollin won both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives, with scores of 227.75 and 201.55 respectively.

In the pool, the Johnnies were led by senior Kenny Bergman, who won both the 50 and 100-yard freestyles. First-year Caleb Birklid took second in the 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard freestyle.

The Johnnies also won a pair of relays in the 200-yard freestyle and the 200-yard medley. The freestyle team included seniors Sam Konsor and Andrew Urness, first-year Luke Heller, and Bergman. The medley team consisted of sophomore Jacob Upton, first-year Ryan Pauley, Konsor and Bergman.

Carleton is a huge conference rival for the Johnnies so this was a meet that Head Coach Bill Saxton focused on.

“Bill stressed the importance of this meet,” Bergman said.

The Johnnies hung with the Gusties at home last Saturday but came up just short.

Bergman dominated the sprints again, winning both the 50 and 100-yard freestyles. Upton also had a strong showing, swimming to second place finishes in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke.

The Johnnies won the 200-yard freestyle relay with a team of junior Curtis Noecker, Heller, Konsor and Bergman and were also strong on the diving platform with Wollin winning the 1-meter with a score of 477.15.

However, the Gusties also had several strong showings which included victories in the 1000-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard backstroke, 500-yard freestyle and a sweep in the 3-meter dive.

With the conference meet looming just two weeks away, the Johnnies are beginning to lock in for the home stretch.

They took second at the conference meet last year and will look to be in the mix among the top teams again this season.

St. Thomas appears to be the front-runner, but the Johnnies are part of a large trail pack that may not be far behind. This pack also includes Gustavus, Carleton and St. Olaf.

Wollin feels the Johnnies have a good chance to post another strong performance at conference this year.

“We got second place last year and are looking to match that or do better this year,” Wollin said.

The Johnnies’ training is beginning to change as championship season gets closer. They are now having shorter practices and are beginning to taper. They have stopped weight training and are focusing on being well-rested.

“We’ve always had a good taper,” Bergman said.

The Johnnies will be in the pool next on Feb. 3-4 at the University of Minnesota Challenge.

The MIAC Championships are Feb. 16-18 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.