November 8, 2005

Men’s swimming wins home opener: Sports Shorts 11/8/05

After starting the season by dominating two away meets, a triumphant home opener showed fans exactly what they had been missing.

In yet another strong performance in their season-opener winning streak, the men’s swimming and diving team soared to a 120–83 victory over Illinois Wesleyan on Saturday in their first meet at the Myers-McLoraine Pool this season. Chicago swimmers posted a whopping seven first-place finishes in individual races and one medley relay win.

Third-year James Viccaro continued his successful start to the season, hitting the wall first in the 50- (22:39) and 100-yard (49.94) freestyle events.

Viccaro, who has shined in freestyle swim so far this season, credited his early-season accomplishments to effort and motivation.

“Working hard during practices throughout the week, as well as not letting myself become complacent during my races, even when I know the other team isn’t especially strong in sprinting, has allowed me to consistently drop times,” Viccaro said.

First-year Shane Carlson also continued his top-notch run, easily winning the 200-yard IM in a quick 2:02.03. Other individual event winners were fourth-year Ram Krishnan (200-yard backstroke, 2:06.87), and second-years Andrew Kent (1000-yard freestyle, 10:50.34), Zachary Ergish (200-yard freestyle, 1:51.80), and Jason Azares (200 yard butterfly, 2:00.08).

Kent and third-year Pat Seastedt also teamed up with second-year Gabe Bugajski and first-year Charles Byrd for a win in the 400-yard medley relay (3:48.04).

The win at Ratner lifted the team to a 4–0–1 season record, including three blowout wins.

“We have good swimmers throughout, and they are all swimming well and scoring points,” head coach George Villarreal said.

Saturday’s meet was key in testing and stretching the team’s true potential and ability, as the Maroons were able to make big changes that distinguished the meet from the first two competitions of the season. For the first time this year, the team had a large number of swimmers competing in events longer than 200 yards.

First-year Steve Hedger had no problem with the adjustment, swimming an extremely consistent pace in his first-ever 1,000-yard freestyle. Across the board, the Maroons adjusted to the changes with ease, earning them praise from the coaching staff.

“We entered a few swimmers in some different events from their normal program, and they responded well,” said Villarreal, who expects to continue shuffling players in practice groups to help them gain experience.

With a tough two-day invite at Ratner coming up this Friday, the team is focusing on improving its weaker areas.