In the thick of their competition season, Lawrence University’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams faced off with Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) in a dual meet at the Boldt Natatorium on Saturday January 14. The meet was the last home competition for the team this season, so they took some time to honor their seniors during a break in the action.
Illinois Tech won both the men’s and women’s competitions, 159-48 on the men’s side and 120-96 on the women’s side; however, the final team scores hardly tell the entire story. Both Illinois Tech sides feature divers while neither Lawrence team has a diver, thus the Vikings essentially started behind as they give up all diving points to their opponent. In addition, there were some strong performances and fast times for the Vikings, so things are looking up as the team heads into the final stretch of their season. “The meet went pretty well. We had a hard week of training, so people were definitely tired, but I think that despite that there were a lot of really fast swims, which is exciting, and good vibes on the pool deck” reflected junior Anna Vogel.
On the women’s side, Lawrence got off to a strong start as they took home the victory in the first event—the 400-yard medley relay with a time of 4:13.40. The winning team featured seniors Dani Millin and Paige Witter, junior Eryn Blagg and sophomore Emmi Zheng. The women also picked up four induvial event victories. Freshman Elsie Riggle won the longest event, the 1000-yard freestyle, with a time of 11:29.60. Witter won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:03.04. Millin added another individual victory for Lawrence, winning the 100-yard backstroke in 1:03.88. Zheng was the final individual champion for the Lady Vikes as she won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:11.41.
There were equally strong performances on the men’s side of the competition. Freshman Liam Wulfman and sophomore Max Stahl took first and second in the 100-yard backstroke with times of 57.97 and 58.77, respectively. Junior Travis Charlow took second in the 100-yard freestyle in 51.48. Stahl also finished second in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:12.95. Senior Christian Bell added another second place finish in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.99. Both men’s relays—the 400-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay took second in the meet as well. The medley relay team of Stahl, freshman Tom Goldberg, Wufman, and Charlow finished in 3:52.65. The freestyle relay team of Bell, Goldberg, freshman Jakob Struble and sophomore Jordan Spalding were clocked at 3:37.51.
More remarkable than the fast times on Saturday was the comradery of the team. It was impossible to be at the meet and not notice the energy coming from the team as they gathered around the lane of one of their teammates and cheered them on. “I think that the team is always really close because we spend so much time together. People have really positive attitudes on the deck […] motivating each other which is cool. Also, I just came back from being abroad and everyone was really excited, which was fun. I noticed it was a tough meet for me because I haven’t been swimming for like five days, but everyone was just so supportive and fun” said Vogel.
The Vikings have only two meets left before their biggest and final competition of the season, the Midwest Conference Championships, so they are about to reach peak form. “One of our goals as a team is to get second place in conference, which is cool, and that we’ll still be training really hard for the rest of the season. Really our entire season is focused on conference so that is upcoming. We’re in the home stretch” said Vogel. Look for their fastest times of the season when they travel to their next competition, the Lake Forest Triangular on January 21.