SPORTS

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January 31, 2006

Men’s swimming falls to DePauw: Sports Shorts 1/31/06

Now, the countdown begins for men’s swimming.

In their final test of the regular season, the Maroons (5–4–1) fell just shy of 18th-ranked DePauw 151–140 at Greencastle Saturday. First-year sensation Shane Carlson won a pair of individual events, and classmate Charles Byrd notched first and second-place performances. But a disqualification in the 200-yard medley relay and lineup experimentation doomed the team in their last competition before UAAs. Rose-Hulman also participated, but no score was recorded against the Engineers.

In this sport, 11 points isn’t a big margin, and much of it could have been closed if the 1:40.34 mark in the medley relay had actually scored second-place points. Second-year Jason Azares, one of the team’s best backstrokers, was disqualified for swimming underwater for more than 15 meters after entering the pool to vacate the performance.

“It wasn’t their fastest time of the year, but we swam pretty well,” second-year Pat Seastedt said. “We’re still just trying to tie everything up.”

If there was any meet for the incident to take place in, this was it. With many swimmers just beginning their taper periods and coaches taking one last opportunity to hunt for the best possible UAA combinations, the emphasis was on final tune-ups rather than on closing the gap. A number of swimmers undertook unusual schedules, recording times in events that will be their third priority at conference.

“We knew DePauw had a pretty good lineup, and we made some changes,” Seastedt said. “Our focus was really not on winning. We’ve been looking this entire season towards UAAs, and this was our last chance to get times for it.”

Among the clearest signs that Chicago was looking ahead was the absence of any entries in the 1,650-yard freestyle, an event in which Carlson has come close to qualifying for the NCAAs. Instead, the first-year helped lead a Maroons sweep of top-three spots in the 200-yard breaststroke, hitting the wall in 2:12.03 to slip past second-year Zach Ergish (2:14.97) and Seastedt (2:17.01). Carlson also opened up a big gap over Tigers second-year Brock Sishc in the freestyle leg of the 200-yard individual medley to take the win in 1:59.74 to Sishc’s 2:01.11.

Carlson’s absence in distance events cleared the way for Byrd to do some damage. He wrecked the field in the 1,000-yard free (10:21.17) and was passed in the last lap as he finished second in the 500-yard free (4:59.08).

Seastedt, still recovering from mono, contributed to the charge in his own right as he came away with a victory in the 100-yard backstroke (1:02.71). Other event champs included second-year Andrew Kent in the 200-yard free (1:49.55) and first-year Alex Stabell in the 100-yard butterfly (53.31). Azares grabbed second in the 100-yard backstroke (56.81), while classmate Chris Whaley (2:03.44) just got by DePauw second-year Landon Boehm (2:03.97) for the same spot in the 200-yard fly.

The Maroons are off next weekend as they rest up for UAAs February 9 to 11 in Atlanta. Check out next Thursday’s MAROON for a full preview of the meet, one of the toughest conference championships in Division III swimming.