By Brady Busha
While some of us went home, stuck to the books, or just relaxed, both of Lawrence University’s swim teams traveled to Grinnell, IA over reading period to compete fiercely with the best swimmers the Midwest Conference has to offer. The three-day tournament began on Friday, Feb. 13, and ended Sunday, Feb. 15.
On the first day of competition, the women’s team featured senior Taylor Winter and sophomore Paige Witter finishing in third and fourth place, respectively, in the 500-yard freestyle. Winter came into the event as the defending champion, and finished with a time of 5:07.48, with Witter finishing right behind her at 5:11.84.
The women’s 400 medley relay team, composed of Witter, junior Emily Flack, and the freshman duo of Rosemary Bauer and Eryn Blagg, took fourth with a time of 4:05:68. The first day concluded with the women finishing in sixth place in the team standings.
Lawrence men’s 400 medley relay team also had a strong showing, swimming on the first day of competition. Freshman Travis Charlow, senior Steven Salansky, sophomore Christian Bell, and senior Peter Raffel took fourth with a time of 3:48.50. The men would finish the first day in seventh place in the team standings.
With the second day, the women came out strong again, climbing from sixth place to fourth in the tournament standings, thanks to the success of the relay teams. The 800-yard freestyle relay placed third, posting a time of 7:57.14, and the 200 medley relay team took fourth with a time of 1:52.41.
Flack shone again as a top performer, swimming to a fourth place finish in the 200 freestyle with a 1:57.69 time. Flack also took seventh in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:00.00 flat.
Charlow led the men’s efforts on the second day. Charlow had two top-eight finishes in the 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke, in which he took seventh and eighth, respectively. In the 200 freestyle, Charlow posted a time of 1:47.79, and he finished the 100 backstroke in 56.04 seconds. The men’s team finished the second day in ninth place.
The final day of competition showcased the experience and prowess of Winter once again. She put on an overwhelming performance, finishing the 1,650-yard freestyle in 17:32.68, almost 40 seconds over her closest competitor, Lily McCarthy of Lake Forest College. Winter’s finish was only about 20 seconds shy of the Midwest Conference Championship record of 17:13.96 set in 2013 by Lake Forest’s Becky Shaak.
Witter and Flack also competed well, finishing fourth in two events. Witter took fourth in the 200 butterfly, and Flack finished fourth in 200 backstroke. The 400 freestyle relay team ended up finishing in fifth place as well. As a team, the Lawrence women finished the tournament fourth in the team standings with 474 points.
On the men’s team, their final day featured the 400 freestyle relay team. They placed sixth in the event, with a time of 3:26.11. Charlow placed eighth in the 200 backstroke, and Salansky came up with an eighth place finish as well, in the 200 breaststroke. The men’s team finished eighth in the tournament with 190 points.
In the final standings, Grinnell won the women’s title with 1,074 points. Lake Forest took the men’s title for the second consecutive year with 1,072 points. The tournament concludes the season for the Lawrence University men’s and women’s swim teams.