January 24, 2012

Chicago suffers first loss to UW-Milwaukee

Women’s swimming and diving lost their first meet of the season on Saturday at the Myers-McLoraine pool against UW-Milwaukee, 151–105, leaving their record at 6–1 (4–1 in dual meets). Looking at the score, however, it is important to note that the Maroons are a DIII school, while the Panthers are DI. UW-Milwaukee is by no means a pushover at their own level of play, either, having won six dual meets this year.

Because of these factors, the Maroons only had three individual event winners on the day—fourth-year Tara Levens in the 100-yard backstroke, second-year Vivian Yuen in the 200-yard backstroke, and first-year Bizzy Millen in the 500-yard freestyle.

While the end result was not what the Maroons desired, Levens believes that there were still some positive aspects to the meet.

“Certain team members showed that they were not afraid of a little tough competition,” Levens said. “We had several people put up some great times and stay with, if not beat, DI swimmers.”

Although there were some strong performances this weekend, one of the main problems for the Maroons was out of the pool.

“Overall, the mental toughness of the team could have been a lot better,” Levens said. “I think the idea of swimming against a DI team still intimidates a lot of people on our team, and that is something we will have to move past if we ever truly want to be competitive with [a team like] them.”

It is important for Chicago to compete with DI schools in order to improve their performance against DIII opponents. Although the loss this weekend still breaks the Maroons’ perfect season, there are benefits to last weekend’s meet.

“Losing to a DI team hurts our record, unfortunately, but it’s nice to know that we are at least still undefeated in DIII,” Levens said.

This sort of tough competition should give the Maroons an edge come conference championships.

“I think it’s great that we had this meet because it gives us some much-needed competition before we get to UAAs,” Levens explained. “What we faced last weekend is a more watered-down version of what we’ll see in Cleveland, and the only way to prepare for that is to swim against tough competition like Milwaukee.”

Looking ahead, Chicago will have to get through DePauw before the conference championships in Cleveland. This past weekend’s test against UW-Milwaukee just goes to show that the team still has work to do.