February 20, 2007

Sports Shorts 2/20/07: Swimming takes last dive of breakthrough season

After smashing school records and shaking up the league’s hierarchy at UAAs, swimming returned to Myers-McLoraine over the weekend to close out the regular season with the Midwest Invite. While the meet marked the end of a groundbreaking year for most of the Maroons, a few South Siders are still holding out for NCAA bids after posting provisional qualifying times in Cleveland last week.

Both squads managed more than respectable showings despite competing without their first stringers and taking a pass on several events. The 22nd-ranked men

showed just how deep their roster is this year by grabbing second place behind Illinois Tech in a pool crowded with 13 teams, while the women posted a sixth-place finish against 10 opponents.

Heading the charge for the men’s squad, first-year Peter Smutko claimed Chicago’s only gold on the weekend, while second-year Brian Young clocked two top-three finishes. The rookie hit the wall in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:08.10, sneaking by Illinois Tech third-year Aron Varhegyi and wiping out his seeded time of 2:17.50.

Earlier in the meet, Young shaved almost a full ten seconds off of his 5:05.00 seed for the 500-yard freestyle, posting a time of 4:56.22 to take third in the event. Later he missed catching third-year E-Fann Saung from Illinois Tech in the 100-yard backstroke by a second with a 54.95 mark, settling for silver.

Clocking in at 1:44.34, the 200-yard freestyle relay of third-year Ellie McNeil, second-year Callie Brown, first-year Jeannette Daly, and second-year Sarah Laws were first on the highlight reel for the women. The quartet grabbed third to notch the squad’s highest finish on the weekend, with Laws and Brown going on to grab fourth place in the 200-yard IM (2:25.37) and the 100-yard backstroke (1:07.95).

With nationals three weeks away for the women and four for the men, a number of Maroons will be hearing very soon if their provisional times made the final cut. First-year Cassie O’Neill would be the sole member from the women’s side to go if included in the announcement Friday. Waiting for news until next Friday are fourth-year Pat Seastedt and second-years Shane Carlson and Alex Stabell. Seastedt would compete in the 100- or 200-yard breaststroke while Carlson would swim in the 1,650 freestyle and Stabell in the 100-yard butterfly. The 400-yard medley relay of Young, Seastedt, Stabell, and fourth-year James Viccaro is also waiting to hear its NCAA fate.