President John F. Kennedy once said, “Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.” But after this past weekend’s performance at the Phoenix Fall Classic, it is clear that “settling for second” was never an option for the men’s and women’s squads. Both teams swam away with their share of victories last weekend. The Maroons set three pool records in addition to nine school records and captured 33 NCAA B-cut times.
“This weekend was probably the most successful Phoenix Classic we have ever had. As a team, we broke multiple pool and school records, [set] a ton of personal best times, and won multiple events,” said third-year diver Anthony Restaino. “The best part is that this is still pretty early in the season, and we are only going to get better as the season continues.”
The men’s team finished the three-day opening invitational with 931 points, nearly 200 points ahead of second-place competitor William Jewell College, which finished with 731.5 points. The women’s squad also had reason to celebrate, beating runner-up Hillsdale College 875.5–616.5.
The highly anticipated performances of the first-years did not disappoint: Jonas Fowler set a school record in the 400-yard IM with a time of 4:02.31 and an NCAA B-cut. Jeremy Estes also contributed by securing two freestyle relay victories. In the 400-yard IM, Matthew Chen and Kevin Ku also received NCAA B-cuts.
Not to be outdone by the first-year men, the first-year women came ready to compete. Alison Wall and Abby Erdmann each had two wins in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly, respectively, and each earned two NCAA B-cuts. Maya Scheidl participated in the 400-yard freestyle relay where she also received a NCAA B-cut.
“We normally do not see performances like these until the UAA Championships in February. Several alumni who were tracking the meet results this weekend have contacted me to express how impressed they are with our performance and how incredibly proud they are of us,” said third-year captain Jenny Hill.
Other top finishers for the men included second-year Matthew Veldman, with a NCAA B-cut in the 100-yard butterfly; third-year Andrew Angeles, who earned a NCAA B-cut in the 200-yard breaststroke; Restaino (three-meter dive); and fourth-year Eric Hallman (400-yard freestyle relay).
On the women’s side, second-year Ciara Hu (400-yard IM), Hill (200-yard breaststroke), and second-year Jenna Harris (400-yard freestyle relay) all earned NCAA B-cuts. Third-year captain Sofia Gross finished first in the one-meter dive.
“The team’s performance at Phoenix was a preview of what is to come in the second half of our season…. After a more relaxed week of training over Thanksgiving break, we will resume our intense training schedule to gear up for our weeklong training trip in San Diego over winter break,” Hill said, “I know that the coaches, alumni, friends, and fans are expecting excellence from this team, and I have no doubt that we will not disappoint.”
The next meet will be the Chicago Invitational on Friday and Saturday, December 10–11 at Myers-McLoraine Pool.
Editor's Note: Jenna Harris is a Maroon contributor