November 11, 2008

Women’s swimming smashes records

The Maroons (4–0) broke five school records and missed one by a fraction of a second to take home a win at the eight-team Maroon Invitational Friday and Saturday.

Racing against UAA rival Wash U and regional competitors like Illinois Wesleyan and Marquette, the Maroons put up 1,236 points in their winning performance. The Bears were a close second with 821, while North Central College came in last at 31. The first-place finish leaves Chicago undefeated on the year.

Chicago set new marks in four relays: the 200-yard freestyle (1:42.21), 200-yard medley (1:52.28), 400-yard freestyle (3:42.90), and 800-yard freestyle (8:01.29). First-year Tara Levens shattered the individual record in the 200-yard backstroke (2:10.01), swimming three seconds faster than the previous standard.

Levens was part of three of the record-breaking relay teams (all except for the 800-yard freestyle) and the 400-yard medley relay team that was five hundredths of a second away from also breaking the record (4:05.79). On her own, Levens won the 100- and 200-yard backstrokes (1:00.85) and placed second in the 50-yard freestyle (25.58).

Second-year Ellie Elgamal participated in all four of the record-setting relays and led the pack in both the 100- and 200-yard butterfly races (58.74, 2:13.70).

First-year Jacqueline Trudeau contributed to three of the groundbreaking performances (all but the 200-yard medley relay) and the 400-yard medley relay.

After their dominance in group races, the South Siders took home several other individual wins: first-year Kelsey Kubelick in the 200-yard IM (2:16.75), first-year Megan St. John in the 500-yard freestyle (5:11.39), and first-year Laura Biery in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:30.32). The Maroons followed close behind Biery to grab first through fifth places in that event. In addition, their second and third 400-yard relay teams came in just behind the squad that nearly broke the record for a one-two-three finish.

Despite the many new records, head coach Jason Weber says that the team was most excited about their win against their rival Wash U.

“Our team has so much more depth than Washington University this year and just as much talent—or even more,” he said. “[By winning against them,] I thought we sent a pretty strong message to the rest of the conference.”

Weber predicts that the Maroons are now in the running against Wash U, NYU, and CMU for second place at the UAA Championships, behind Emory.

The end of the meet was particularly exciting for the Maroons. Coming into the finals Saturday evening, Chicago had just over a 100-point lead but ended up besting the Bears by over 400 points.

“We just blew them out of the water,” Weber said.

Next weekend, Weber plans to do something out of the ordinary because of this year’s strong talent and depth. He will take his top 11 swimmers to compete at Northwestern, leaving the rest of the team home to tackle Lake Forest and Grinnell.

“The top swimmers are looking forward to swimming Division-I talents,” Weber explained, “and this will give the other swimmers an opportunity to stand out and contribute a little more than they had been. I think it will be a good experience for all of the swimmers.”

Chicago’s home meet begins Saturday at 2 p.m. at Myers-McLoraine Pool.