Sluggish Chicago upset by Kalamazoo

Men’s swimming started the new year slow, as a disappointing performance by Chicago gave Kalamazoo an upset win over the Maroons.

By Jessica Sheft-Ason

Maybe it was an intense week of training, maybe the long distance travel, or maybe just “sub-par” facilities, but men’s swimming left this Saturday’s 132–99 loss at Kalamazoo knowing the team could have won.

“The meet was a lot closer than it seemed,” head coach Jason Weber said. “They had the ability to win the meet, but Kalamazoo really pulled away in the second half.”

Although Weber noted those maybes as possible factors for the team’s struggles, the team is positive that its swimming this weekend won’t win too many meets down the road.

“It was disappointing knowing that we could have won,” Weber said. “Kalamazoo didn’t swim great, but they swam well and swam well enough to beat us.”

The meet was a stark contrast to last year’s affair, which saw Chicago dominate Kalamazoo 153–131 at home. The Maroons’ struggles started immediately, with Kalamazoo taking the 200-yard medley relay. However, in one of the stronger performances of the meet, first-year Paul Morimoto responded with first place in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 10:09.3.

Morimoto’s quickness didn’t seem to carry over to the rest of the squad, though, as Kalamazoo triumphed in the rest of the freestyle events as well as in the 200-yard IM.

The meet was not all downhill for the Maroons, though, with an impressive showing by first-year diver Evan Robinson. Robinson topped Kalamazoo with scores of 160.20 in the one-meter dive and 168.80 in the three-meter dive, both of which put the rookie’s name in the Chicago record books.

“Without him, we wouldn’t have even had a chance at winning the meet,” Weber said.

Following Robinson’s exciting act, veteran swimmer and fourth-year Alex Stabell proved that not all hope was lost by winning the 100-yard butterfly with a score of 52.57.

“I didn’t expect [Stabell] to win,” Weber said. “But I was definitely impressed, considering they have a really good butterfly swimmer.”

The men struggled for the rest of the meet, though, taking second in every other event.

“It was a challenge getting everyone excited and ready to go,” Weber said, noting the team’s high intensity of practice in its first week back from break. “They didn’t want to drive three hours in the snow to go to Michigan and swim in a sub-par pool.”

While the loss marks the third in the Maroons’ last four meets and fourth in their last six, the squad sees plenty of time to get back to the winning ways that it demonstrated early in the season.

The Maroons are hoping that experience provides more of a boost at this Saturday’s Chicago Invitational than it did in Michigan. With Lincoln, Calvin, and IIT coming to town, Chicago has experience against all of this weekend’s opponents.

“We beat Lincoln by over a hundred points last time, but if we swim like we swam today, they could beat us,” said Weber.

Weber, though, is confident that the men will put their best foot forward going into the invitational. The men’s final regular season home meet follows the next week, when UW–Milwaukee comes to town.