February 19, 2015

Home meet marks last chance to qualify for Nationals

The Maroons will look to continue their success as they host the Midwest Invitational this weekend in their last meet before Nationals. The men are coming off a second place finish in the UAA Championships, where the women finished third. Combined, the teams posted 21 all-conference finishes and three first-place wins in the conference meet.

At the UAA Championships, the Maroon men captured three event titles over the course of the four-day competition. Third-year Thomas Meek led the charge by winning the 200-yard freestyle. Meek was also a part of the first-place 800-yard freestyle relay which broke the conference record in the event. Another member of this relay was Matt Veldman. Like Meek, Veldman earned his own gold medal in the 100-yard butterfly. Veldman not only earned first place in the meet, but also came away with a new school record.

The Midwest Invitational is a last chance opportunity for many swimmers and divers to qualify for Nationals, which will take place at the end of March.

“Since we can only bring 22 people for each team to UAAs, this is the end of season taper meet for those who didn’t go to UAAs as well as a last chance to qualify for those who came close at UAAs,” third-year swimmer Matt Veldman said. “Additionally, the meet is required for those who have qualified for Nationals as a meet to train and compete in different events before Nationals.”

The Maroons will be looking to carry the momentum from last week into this meet.

The women had a tougher go at it, with six of the eight UAA schools being ranked in the top 25 in the nation, including powerhouse Emory topping the list. A medley of bronze medals were indicative of the teams third place finish. First-year Melissa Bischoff and second-year Allison Wall both took home two top finishes a piece over the course of the meet. Bischoff with two third-place finishes in the 100-yard backstroke and as a member of the 200-yard medley relay and Wall with a fifth place finish in the 200-yard freestyle and as a part of the 800-yard freestyle relay.

Fourth-year Jennifer Hill, who was a member of the third-place 400-yard free relay team and individually finished fourth in the 200-yard breaststroke at UAAs, expressed the improvements she hopes all swimmers will make before Nationals.

“I hope that at Nationals we will be able to push through the pain, especially at the ends of our races, and fight to the finish,” she said. “We have to have confidence in our training and believe in ourselves in order to succeed at Nationals.”

The team also recognizes the benefits of getting to compete once more at home before heading to Shenandoah, TX for the much higher-pressure environment of the National meet.

The Midwest Invitational will take place at the Myers-McLoraine Pool this Friday and Saturday.