Maroons back to form in home victory

After their loss to Kalamazoo, men’s swimming knows what can happen when the team doesn’t show up. Their opponents at the Chicago Invitational now know what can happen when they do.

By Jessica Sheft-Ason

[img id=”77187″ align=”alignleft”] Men’s swimming didn’t feel quite right in an upset loss at Kalamazoo two weeks ago, but the Maroons were right at home atop the standings at this weekend’s Chicago Invitational.

“I thought they did great and did a lot better than they did against Kalamazoo. This meet was much more indicative of their training,” head coach Jason Weber said.

Competing at Ratner for the first time in 2009, the Maroons overpowered the field of seven teams, with no team coming within 200 points of them in the final standings. The Maroons secured first place with 996 points, followed by Lincoln with 766 and IIT with 717.

The meet, which spanned both Friday and Saturday, saw several Maroons turn in top performances. Fourth-year Shane Carlson chalked up impressive times in the 400-yard IM and the 200-yard breaststroke. With first-place performances in both events, Carlson posted a 4:12.32 in the IM and a 2:10.84 in the breaststroke.

Following a remarkable showing against Kalamazoo, first-year diver Evan Robinson did not disappoint this week either and broke school records in each of his diving events.

Carlson and Robinson were not the only ones to earn gold, however, as the relays added to Chicago’s medal collection. The 400-yard medley relay team, composed of third-year Brian Young, second-years Ed Wagner and James Schlabach, and fourth-year Alex Stabell, took first with a time of 3:33.56. The 800-yard freestyle relay, which is made up of Carlson, Stabell, Schlabach, and first-year Paul Morimoto, also took home gold with a time of 7:10.60.

Capping the weekend’s long list of champions for Chicago were Wagner in the 100-yard breast stroke and third-year Tim Everett in the 200-yard backstroke.

The Maroons look ahead to their last home meet Friday, January 23 against D-I team UW–Milwaukee.

“We’re definitely going to need more fast swimming to beat UW,” said Weber.

The Maroons have introduced D-I competition to the schedule for the first time ever this year, swimming against local rivals Northwestern and UIC. While the Maroons did not fare too well against either of those teams, Weber is still confident in his men.

“Northwestern was pretty scary for them, and UW–Milwaukee…well, it just sounds different,” Weber said.

Weber anticipates standout performances from all of his team, especially Carlson and Stabell.

“You always want to win your last home meet,” said Weber, who also said that the men have historically swum some of their fastest times at their last home meets. “Also, both of them [Stabell and Carlson] have swam really well this season.”

Looking past their last home meet, the men will face stiff competition at the UAA Championships. The men are expecting winning the conference to be a tough task, according to Weber, but the Maroons are confident that a strong performance will earn them a top-four finish. While the team hopes to qualify for the NCAA Championships March 18 to 21, Weber anticipates at least one individual qualifier and perhaps a relay team making the trip to Minneapolis for NCAAs.

“I think we have a good shot this year,” Weber said.