Park Rapids’ Matthew Benson capped off his junior season as a member of the Luther College men’s swimming and diving team by winning the 400-yard individual medley at the Liberal Arts Championships at Decorah, Iowa, on Feb. 18-20.
Benson clocked a winning time of 4:18.77 in that event while adding runner-up finishes in the 200 individual medley (1:58.53) and 200 backstroke (2:00.16). Benson also swam on Luther’s runner-up 400 medley relay (3:39.63) and 800 freestyle relay (7:14.16) teams. Benson also swam on the Norse’s 200 freestyle relay (1:28.78) and 400 freestyle relay (3:14.96) teams that placed third.
Those efforts helped Luther win the Liberal Arts Championships title for the eighth time in school history, but the first time since 2009. The Norse compiled 833 points to top Coe College (618), Loras College (604), Nebraska-Wesleyan (592) and Simpson College (17).
During the abbreviated regular season, Luther went 2-1 in dual meets. The Norse opened the season with a 135-62 loss to Nebraska-Wesleyan before defeating Coe 176-115 and Loras 190.5-95.5.
Against Wesleyan, Benson was the runner-up in the 100 backstroke (1:00.18) and took third in the 200 individual medley (2:10.74) while swimming on the runner-up 200 medley relay team (1:43.38).
Benson won the 200 freestyle (1:54.70) and swam on the winning 400 freestyle relay (3:27.91) while taking second in the 50 backstroke (26.49) and as a member of the 400 medley relay team (3:51.42) against Coe.
In the win over Loras, Benson turned in four winning times. Benson won the 100 backstroke (57.85), 200 backstroke (2:07.32) and 400 individual medley (4:36.11) while swimming on the winning 200 medley relay team (1:44.50).