The Lawrence University swim team returned from the Wisconsin Private College Championships (WPCC) on Saturday, Jan. 25 with mixed results. The four teams competing against Lawrence in the WPCC consisted of Carroll University, Carthage College, Ripon College and Beloit College.
While the men came in fifth in the championship with a total of 54 points, the women took second with 156 points. Carthage, who also hosted the championship, won titles in both competitions, behind 246 points in the women’s tournament and 257 in the men’s.
The LU women’s swim team was led by sophomore Haley Cardinal, who took first in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke. “Hayley has always done well at our big meets,” commented senior Deirdre Solymosi. “And she’s just one of many talented underclassmen on the team right now.”
Other LU standouts from the WPCC include junior Taylor Winter, freshman Paige Witter and senior Charlie Mann. Winter and Witter each took first in an individual event for the women’s team; the former won the 1,650-yard freestyle in just 18:17.16, while the latter won the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:20.68. Meanwhile, Mann grabbed the men’s lone victory by completing the 100-yard freestyle in 49.47, only .06 seconds quicker than Carthage freshman Erik Pinter.
The men’s team, which has struggled with a small roster all year, was dealt another blow after losing senior Pat Vincent to a shoulder injury just prior to the championship. The loss became somewhat less detrimental when junior Peter Raffel joined the team during the same week as Vincent’s injury. However, even with the addition of Raffel, the Vikings had only ten male swimmers competing in Saturday’s event. “The men’s team definitely has the talent to do well,” said Solymosi. “What they are missing now is the depth.”
On the other side, the second-place finish extended what has been a very successful season thus far for the women’s swimming program. After winning four straight meets to start the season, the women had strong showings at the University of Chicago Invitational meet and the Lawrence Triangular meet at home. With such an outstanding season under their belt, the women hope to carry some momentum into the Midwest Conference Championships (MWCC).
“We are all feeling really good about the upcoming Conference Championships,” stated Solymosi. “But no matter how we do this year, both the men and women have young cores. So we will only improve in the coming years.” The MWCC will take place from Friday, Feb. 14 to Sunday, Feb.16 at Grinnell College.