SPORTS

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November 4, 2008

Men’s swimming tops IIT to extend dual-meet streak

Men’s swimming and diving beat out close neighbor IIT this Friday with an impressive 141–79 win, tacking another win onto Chicago’s undefeated streak in dual meets carrying over from last season.

The men entered the meet as strong favorites, even after the team snuck in a practice before Friday’s meet.

“They did really well and swam faster than expected, especially considering how tired they were,” head coach Jason Weber said. “They gained a lot of confidence in how well they can do when they are that tired. There were some times that were better than the first meet.”

The meet started off strong when first-year Erik Widestrom took first in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:26.85 and was quickly followed by second-year Phillip Bartels and third-year Chase Bassignani, who took second and third places respectively.

Widestrom passed the baton to fourth-year veteran Shane Carlson, who took second in the 200-yard freestyle event with a time of 1:45.85. Carlson’s quick moves were then mimicked by first-year Marius Aleksa, who also took second in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.43.

Making his debut in the 200-yard IM was first-year Paul Morimoto, who took first with a fierce time of 2:01.73. Morimoto was followed by second-year Dan Nichols in second and third-year Tim Everett in third. Continuing Chicago’s day of strong individual performances, fourth-year Alex Stabell took first in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 53.24, followed by Everett’s time of 56.01 in the 100-yard backstroke. First-year Zach Lain captured another gold for the Maroons, taking first in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:59.85, and Carlson added a first place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:00.98.

The men closed with a splash by taking first in the 200-yard freestyle relay, which was composed of powerhouse swimmers Stabell, Carlson, third-year Roby Surabian, and second-year James Schlabach.

Looking to add some excitement to the Maroons’ routine, Weber chose an “Iron Man” for both the men and the women, selecting one male and one female to swim in all events. This new tradition was possible because both the men and women have full squads, and Weber is confident in his new swimmers’ strength across the board. In only his second meet, Widestrom was Chicago’s first Iron Man, competing in every event for the South Siders.

“I picked Eric because of his drive, dedication, and effort. He really impressed us,” Weber said.

On top of his victory in the 100-yard freestyle, Widestrom posted quality times in some events in which he is not accustomed to competing.

The next step for the men is to continue their string of home meets on Friday and Saturday at the Maroon Invitational. The men will face their toughest competition yet when they swim against top-ranked Wash U.

“They are an excellent team with a lot of depth,” said Weber.

Last year the men lost to Wash U by a mere 10 points at the Maroon Invitational; however, with this season’s depth, Weber is confident that Chicago can take home first place.