Gonzalez breaks school record to win 500-yard freestyle
Morningside College’s Suzanna Gonzalez, a junior from Trabuco Canyon, Calif., won the women’s 500-yard freestyle and broke her own school record two times in the process in Thursday’s action at the Liberal Arts Championships swimming & diving meet in Elsah, Ill.
Gonzalez, who set the Morningside women’s record in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:07.34 at last week’s Minnesota Challenge, lowered the record to 5:06.34 during Thursday’s prelims and then shattered the record with a time of 5:01.43 in Thursday evening’s final for a victory margin of almost nine seconds over her closest competitor.
Evelyn Edge, a senior from Genoa City, Wis., also qualified for the women’s 500-yard freestyle final and finished fifth with a time of 5:14.91, while Tracy Gates, a senior from Escondido, Calif., finished 11th with a time of 5:23.55.
Connor Bjellum, a freshman from Fargo, N.D., had the top individual finish for the Morningside men’s team with a fourth place time of 21.47 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle. Jake Kohorst, a freshman from Elk River, Minn., finished 10th with a time of 22.07; Billy Salber, a freshman from Omaha, Neb., finished 13th with a time of 22.33; and Evan Persson, a senior from Blair, Neb., finished 16th with a time of 22.56.
Morningside had three of the top 16 finishers in the women’s 200-yard individual medley, where Carly Johnson, a sophomore from Kansas City, Kan., was 14th with a time of 2:23.56; Jessyca Huff, a freshman from Castle Rock, Colo., was 15th in 2:25.00; and Alisia Woodward, a sophomore from Waterloo, Iowa, was 16th in 2:29.11.
John Dieter, a junior from Carroll, Iowa, finished 13th in the men’s 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:56.22.
Morningside’s best relay finish came in the men’s 200-yard freestyle event, where Salber, Dieter, Persson, and Bjellum combined for the sixth place time of 1:27.70.
Morningside finished seventh in the women’s 400-yard medley relay with a time of 4:15.40 from Veronica Mullen, a sophomore from Omaha, Neb., Huff, Gonzalez and Edge.
Mullen, Alyssa Nehring, a junior from Humboldt, Iowa; Deborah Cvrk, a freshman from Sioux City, and Gates combined for an eighth place time of 1:46.89 in the women’s 200-yard freestyle relay.
The Liberal Arts Championships will continue through Saturday.