January 25, 2011

Against D-I competition, swimming sinks

[img id="78701" align="alignleft"]

Highlighting the difference between Division–I and Division–III athletic programs, the Maroon swim teams fell to UW–Milwaukee. An all too familiar scene unraveled at the Myers-McLoraine pool as the men fell 208.5–91.5, while the women kept it closer with a final score of 186–114.

Though a loss was not unexpected, both the men and women battled fiercely over the course of the meet.

“They are always the toughest team we face every year and have a lot more depth and speed than any other team we compete against,” said head coach Jason Weber. “The team actually exceeded my expectations. Normally, we don’t swim very well at this point in the season and at this meet, but we competed very well and posted some very fast times. Not to mention, the divers did really well too.”

The lean but determined men’s team persevered throughout the competition against an unyielding adversary. After an exciting back-half victory in the first event, the 200-yard medley relay team of third-year Robert Vanneste, fourth-year Ed Wagner, first-year Eric Hallman, and third-year Nic Santoro, the Maroons captured only two of the thirteen remaining races. Demonstrating their stamina in the distance stroke events, Hallman took the 200-yard butterfly and Santoro cruised to victory in the 200-yard breaststroke.

The swimmers benefited from top-notch diving and an individual win from second-year Bobby Morales, who set a school record in 3-meter diving with a score of 261.35. Morales also holds school records in the 1-meter dive for both dual and championship meets.

Morales was pleased with the Maroon divers’ showing. “The diving team performed pretty well against a D-I team, and we were more consistent throughout the competition than in the past,” Morales reflected.

The women fared slightly better by winning three individual events, a relay, and a diving event, but it was a lesson well-learned. “It’s important for us to get that competition before we head to UAAs and NCAAs,” said third-year Tara Levens, who won the 100-yard backstroke. “We definitely swam a lot better than last year. The women’s team was able to keep within a reasonable distance, so hopefully next year we can make it a really close meet.”

Levens is not unrealistic in considering the possibility of competition at the NCAA Championships after posting NCAA B cuts in her victory. She was beaten out only by teammate and first-year Vivian Yuen in the 200-yard backstroke , who also posted a B cut in the event.

Second-year diver Becky Schmidt came to play again this weekend. Schmidt triumphed in the 3-meter dive and was runner-up in the 1-meter dive.

The men (2–4) and women (4–2) will face DePauw University in an away meet next Saturday, the final of the season.

Weber’s plan is to keep up the intensity for another week before getting into competition mode. “We’ve got one more week of tough training before we start resting. We’re going to focus on more speed, power, and pacing as we approach our championship meets.”