The Lawrence University swimming team opened their season by splitting their men’s and women’s meets against Beloit College. The women’s team beat the Beloit Buccaneers in a 143-54 rout, while the men’s team lost 87-77 in a match that came down to the final few events.
“Morale is just really high right now for the entire team,” said sophomore Grant Wilkie. “We feel like we got off to a great start this season and we will only improve from here.”
Leading the women’s team were junior Taylor Winter, sophomore Hayley Cardinal and freshman Paige Witter. Winter, an excellent long-distance swimmer, took first in the 1000-yard freestyle (11:21.67) and 500-yard freestyle (5:32.44). Cardinal took first in the 200-yard individual medley (2:24.94) and the100-yard breaststroke (1:10.78), while Witter, a freshman out of Denver, Co., beat out the competition in the 200-yard freestyle (2:05.00) and the 100-yard butterfly (1:03.56).
On the men’s side, senior captain Evan Flack won both the 200-yard freestyle (1:56.04) and the 100-yard freestyle (51.32). Also noteworthy, Dylan Kuper from Buffalo Grove, Ill., began his college swimming career with a personal record in the 50-yard freestyle (28.29).
Unfortunately, the men’s team is missing one key dimension: Seasoned long-distance swimmers. “We have a very small team this year and that’s really hurting us. The girls have a good sized team, but we only have nine swimmers right now,” said Wilkie regarding the team’s current needs. “I still like our chances for the season, but we’re definitely hoping that the team grows as the year goes on.”
The season’s start comes only two weeks after the induction of Lawrence swimming standout, Maggie Phillips Reeve ’96, into Lawrence’s Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame. Phillips won five individual conference championships, was a part of seven relay championship teams and set many individual Lawrence records that still hold today. A part of the 3/2 nursing program, Phillips was able to balance academics and athletics, while leading the Vikings to three Wisconsin Private College Championships in only three years.
Earlier this week, Lawrence’s own Hayley Cardinal and Evan Flack received the Midwest Conference Swimmer of the Week awards for winning or placing in each of their respective races against Beloit. The Vikings hope to keep up the strong swimming as they stay at home to face Ripon College and UW-River Falls on Saturday, Nov. 2.