The Maroons dominated at the 2020 UAA Championship swimming and diving meet. Hosting the UAA Championships, the men’s team placed second out of eight teams and the women’s team placed third. The men’s team lost the UAA title by 16.5 points, having spent most of the weekend meet hunting win after win in determination to topple Emory University’s 21 straight UAA titles. The Maroons performed excellently, with rookies and seasoned players alike breaking records, winning races, and cheering each other on. The meet concluded with several individual UAA honors for members of the team, including the coaching staff. Head coach Jason Weber and assistant coach Nicole Kaupp were named UAA Men’s Coaching Staff of the Year. Head diving coach Becky Benson won the title of UAA Women’s Diving Coach of the Year.
In preparation for the meet, the swim team began to cut down the length and intensity of their practices. Having ramped up drive, since their preseason training, members of the team were at their peak performance leading up to the UAAs. On the other hand, the diving team continued practice at a consistent intensity for the rest of their season, only tapering the number of dives two days before the meet.
In addition, the teams had dynamic advantages due to their home meet location. Benson explained, “To host a meet is advantageous because the UChicago swimmers and divers are comfortable with the facility and they get to sleep in their own beds.” Her comment reflects on the psychological nature of high intensity meets such as the UAA Championships. Seemingly simple comforts, like sleeping in one’s bed, can make a world of difference in mental preparation for competition and performance.
Weber elaborated on the advantages of hosting a meet: “Hosting is a distinct advantage, not only because we are more familiar with the boards, blocks, walls, etc., that come into play when competing, but we don’t have to spend time or have the added stress of traveling, missing classes, etc.”
The UAAs also saw the Maroons setting records throughout the weekend. First-year Morgan Simon set a new school record in the 1,650-yard freestyle race. She broke 17 minutes with her exceptional time (16:55.34). First-year Arthur Kiselnikov set both a UAA and University of Chicago record with his impressive 100-yard freestyle performance in 44.30. However, Kiselnikov proceeded to break his own record in the following 400-yard freestyle relay with his split of 44.29. These excellent first-year performances were complemented by wins from upperclassmen; fourth-year Byrne Litschgi secured a victory in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:47:17 and third-year Margaret Wolfson won the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:19.04.
Looking to the future, the swimming and diving teams are gearing up to compete at the NCAA DIII Swimming and Diving National Championships. Over the next few weeks, members of the teams will try to secure qualifying times for the NCAAs. Swimmers having competed this weekend at the Midwest Invitational, the diving team will compete at the NCAA Diving Regional in Granville, Ohio.