Stars can’t carry Maroons at home

Women’s swimming struggled in the face of D-I competition Friday, as UW–Milwaukee took a 169–120 win in the Maroons’ home finale.

By Audrey Henkels

Women’s swimming and diving fell to DI UW–Milwaukee 169–120 in dual meet competition Friday evening at Ratner.

“We should have been more competitive,” head coach Jason Weber said. “Our team didn’t have confidence in themselves—they saw the times the other team members were seeded at and got discouraged. Mentally, the biggest challenge was getting over the fact that we were swimming a Division-I team and weren’t expected to win.”

Although losing at the Maroons’ last home meet was disheartening, Weber said that his team views each meet as training for the UAA Championships, scheduled for February 11–14.

“Down the line at UAAs, we’re not going to be intimidated by anyone in Division III, since we’ve competed against the best,” Weber said.

First-year Tara Levens embraced the challenge of competing against the D-I Panthers, leading the way in both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke events with respective times of 59.80 and 2:10.51. This meet was the second time this season she has broken under a minute in the 100-yard backstroke, and the first time she did so without intentional rest prior to the meet.

Second-year Ellie Elgamal and first-years Laura Biery and Megan St. John notched other wins for Chicago. Elgamal received top honors in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 58.76, and Biery placed first in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:16.76, swimming half a second faster than her seed time. St. John earned a fourth win for the Maroons, finishing the 500-yard freestyle in 5:14.52.

Family members, friends, and fellow varsity athletes filled the stands to cheer the South Siders on for this season’s last home meet, the team’s senior night.

Weber took a few moments at the beginning of the competition to honor the four girls who will be graduating this spring: Callie Brown, Sarah Laws, Nikki Puza, and Rachel Zarnke.

The Maroons swim against DePauw next week, and although predicting the team’s performance is difficult because the meet falls at an awkward time in their pre–UAA Championships “shave-and-taper” resting routine, Weber is optimistic.

“We have a good chance to win half of the events,” said Weber, “and I think how we do overall will really depend on our second, third, and fourth girl in each event.

“This meet will be a chance to show our depth.”

The Maroons will face host DePauw University at 1 p.m. on Saturday.