Maroons drown competition at Phoenix Fall Classic

Both teams win big at weekend meet

By Dave Kates

Men’s and women’s swimming and diving swamped the competition at the Phoenix Fall Classic, a three-day, nine-team meet that ended yesterday at the Myers-McLoraine pool. The women’s team racked up 1252 points, almost 800 more than Lake Forest, the second-place finisher. The men’s team accumulated 898 points and beat second-place Lincoln College by a little over 200.

“This weekend everyone did absolutely amazing,” commented second-year Andrea McPike: “Individually we had a lot of people going best times, breaking school records, and making qualifying cuts.” In fact, the Maroons now boast five national qualifying performances and two new school records.

In every event, the women’s team had at least one athlete who finished in the top three spots.

The eleven individual event wins went to third-years Laura Biery (100- and 200-yard breaststrokes, 400-yard IM) and Tara Levens (50- and 200-yard freestyles, 100 yard butterfly); first-years Kate Taylor (500- and 1650-yard freestyles) and Vivian Yuen (200-yard IM, 100- and 200-yard backstrokes).

The women’s relay teams were also phenomenal. They won the 200-yard freestyle (Levens and second-years Grete Grubelich, Tatum Stewart, and Andrea McPike), the 200-yard medley (fourth-years Ellie Elgamal, Levens, McPike and first-year Karen Chen), and the 400-yard medley (Chen, Levens, McPike, and first-year Wini Lau).

As for diving, second-year Becky Schmidt swept the 1- and 3-meter events. Both scores qualify her for the NCAAs, and her 1 meter score (430.05) is the new school record.

With seven individual event wins and three first-place relays, the men’s team also had much to celebrate. The individual winners were: third-years Nick Santoro (100- and 200-yard breaststroke) and Erick Widestrom (400-yard IM), second-years Denver Barrows (200-yard IM) and Charles Du (200-yard butterfly); and first-years Eric Hallman (100-yard butterfly) and Eamon Ford (1650-yard freestyle). To top it off, second-year Bobby Morales set a new school record for 3-meter diving at 395.70.

“The other teams had some great individual talent here and there, but overall we are a team with depth in most events. There weren’t very many final heats without multiple UC swimmers scoring points,” McPike said.

“In comparison to the other teams, we have the numbers in our favor. We are an extremely deep team, so we were able to sweep a lot of events,” Tara Levens added. Kate Taylor also remarked on the team’s ability to sustain a positive attitude over three long days. “It really helped keep the morale up and help put people in racing mode,” she said.

Sunday’s performance is more than a litany of wins. It is a reflection of the training both teams have undergone this season, and helps gauge where the team hopes to be in the future. “This is our only meet in the season that compares at all to end-of-season championships, so it’s a great sign that we were able to keep the intensity up throughout the meet,” Levens said.

According to Becky Schmidt, “The entire team’s performance in this meet…bodes extremely well for UAAs!”

The Maroons’ next meet is in January and the UAAs are in mid-February, so the swimming and diving teams have a little over a month to lay back on their laurels and prepare for the second half of the season.