January 10, 2012

Kalamawho? Maroons remain unbeaten with victory at Ratner

The University of Chicago women’s swimming and diving team raced past Kalamazoo College in a dual meet this past Saturday at home in the Myers-McLoraine Pool. The team improved to 5–0 on the season with a 209–90 victory. Kalamazoo fell to 3–3.

Fourth-year Tara Levens, a winner in the 200-yard medley relay, the 50-yard freestyle, and the 200-yard backstroke, thought the event reinforced the team’s high national and regional status.

“A win over Kalamazoo was pretty expected. We’ve gone through this season continually ranked number one in the Midwest,” Levens said, “which is pretty exciting and a sign of how far the program has come over the last few years.”

Third-year diver Becky Schmidt, a winner in the 1-meter and 3-meter, offered a similar sentiment.

“This dominant showing after the two-week break is a great way to kick off the second half of the season,” Schmidt said.

The Maroons are coming off an undefeated fall season, having wrapped up the quarter with a first-place finish at the Phoenix Classic. Still, the hard work put in during their training trip to Key Largo, Florida can be largely credited for the success this weekend.

“Our training trip was critical to our performance this week,” Schmidt said. “Spending the first week of break doing nothing but diving in Florida gave all of us time to practice our difficult new dives so that we were able to successfully complete them our first week back.”

“It was a tough week. We swam a lot more than we usually do,” Levens said. “This first week back was pretty high yardage to get those that didn’t swim over the break back into shape.”

That training, it seems, paid off. The Maroons finished with 13 individual winners and two winning relays.

“I’m proud that the team was able to come back from break and swim so well,” Levens said. “We put up some great times, and hopefully we’ll just keep getting faster as we start to wrap up the season.”

Schmidt thinks that this meet is going to be important to the psyche of the team.

“Because we had to train really hard this week to get back on track for conference and national championships, performing this well while all of us were sore and tired is a good confidence booster,” she said.

Coming up, the Maroons can look forward to their own University of Chicago Invitational this weekend on Friday, January 13, and Saturday, January 14. With longer days and tougher competition, the Maroons have their work cut out for them.

“Our next meet is an invitational, so it’ll be a little longer and tougher mentally than a dual meet,” Levens said. “It’ll be a chance to make sure that we can stay focused through three sessions. Being undefeated is great, and gives us a little extra confidence going into the rest of our season.”

The Maroons will look to keep their undefeated streak alive at the Chicago Invitational, using this win against Kalamazoo College as motivation to just keep swimming.