At Maroon Invitational, men and women easily outpace opposition

Swimming and diving teams host six-team meets and win by wide margins.

By Jessica Sheft-Ason

Hosts are supposed to be generous, but the Maroon swimming and diving teams didn’t display much hospitality as they dominated the Maroon Invitational Friday and Saturday.

Both the men’s and women’s teams took top honors at the meet, which was held at Ratner Athletics Center’s Myers-McLoraine Pool. The men beat out all five opponents, winning with a score of 1,365 points. Lincoln took second with just 778 points. The women also swept the meet decisively with a score of 1,405 that far outdistanced second-place Carroll’s tally of 399.

One of the most intense moments of the meets came Saturday, when Chicago went up against Lincoln in the 800-yard freestyle relay finals.

“Lincoln College was about a body length ahead going into the last leg of the relay. Then caught up to their last swimmer by the 100 and then surpassed him and ended up winning the relay by 1.5 body lengths. It was so exciting and such a strong team effort by the four guys on that relay,” first-year Julie Pendleton said.

Second-years Paul Morimoto and Marius Aleksa and third-year James Schlabach rounded out the 800-meter relay team.

Some of the most exceptional efforts of the meet came from the diving teams.

“The best performance overall came from the divers. All of them,” head coach Jason Weber said.

First-years Bobby Morales and Rebecca Schmidt broke school records. Schmidt made NCAA qualifying scores of 404.38 and 439.73, respectively, in winning the one-meter and three-meter events. Morales set school marks with scores of 375.13 and 357.53, but finished second in both events behind Lincoln’s star first-year Tyler Clingerman.

“My favorite moments were seeing my family and a bunch of my housemates cheering up in the stands and finding out that I had national-qualifying scores

on both boards,” Schmidt said.

Despite being unaccustomed to competing on the three-meter board, Morales stunned his teammates.

“During a practice two days before the meet I over-rotated the dive and landed flat on my front. So I didn’t warm it up and just threw the dive hoping for the best to happen during the meet,” Morales said.

After two more early-season victories, the teams are anticipating another successful season.

“We posted some fast times in our first meet of the season at Wheaton and I think we can only get better,” Aleksa said.

In addition to looking forward to training in San Diego over winter break, many members of the team have hopes of possibly qualifying for NCAAs.

“Currently undefeated and posting excellent early-season times, things are looking good for our training trip in San Diego and for the remainder of the season,” said Schlabach.

Weber feels that this year’s team is far ahead of where last season’s team was at this point.

“There is just more drive and determination. Last year, they didn’t really know what they were capable of,” Weber said. “This year…they expect to do just as well, if not better than, last year.”