After months of hard work and preparation, the Lawrence University swim team reached the peak of their season, the conference meet, this past weekend. Conference is a three-day long competition hosted by Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, that brings together the best of the Midwest Conference and showcases the best swimming performances of the season.
“Nothing really compares to the atmosphere of competing at conference. The energy in the building from all of the teams is always great and especially our team. Everyone is cheering for each other for three days while also swimming really fast themselves, so it’s just a great environment to compete in,” said senior captain Anna Vogel about competing at conference.
The event kicked off at 10 a.m. on Friday, February 16 with the men’s 200-yard freestyle relay. The team of sophomore Tom Goldberg, junior Max Stahl, and freshmen Akio Yamamoto and Anton Hutchinson took fourth in the event with a time of 1:34.04. Hutchinson was also third in the 500-yard freestyle, swimming a time of 4:45.03. Goldberg finished seventh in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.35. The last event for the men on Friday was the 400-yard medley relay in which the team of Stahl, Goldberg, Yamamoto and senior Travis Charlow finished fifth in a time of 3:35.63.
On the women’s side on Friday, Lawrence went off to a strong start as the 200-yard freestyle relay team of junior Lizzy Garcia-Creighton, senior Eryn Blagg, sophomore Bridget Duero and freshman Erin Lengel placed third with a time of 1:41.01. In the 500-yard freestyle, sophomore Elise Riggle finished fourth with a time of 5:21.69 and senior Emei Thompson was seventh in a time of 5:28.12. Junior Emmi Zheng took eighth in the 200-yard IM in 2:19.12. The Lady Vikes successes continued as Lengel tied for second in the 50-yard freestyle swimming a time of 24.59. Friday ended with a third-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay by the team of senior Flo Van Lieshout, Zheng, Lengel and Blagg in a time of 4:07.50.
Saturday’s events kicked off with the men’s 200-yard medley relay in which the team of Stahl, Goldberg, Yamamoto and Charlow finished fifth with a time of 1:38.11. Also on the men’s side of the competition, Yamamoto finished eighth in the 100-yard butterfly, swimming 54.30. Hutchinson also took home third in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:44.37. Goldberg picked up fourth place in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 58.84 and Charlow was seventh in the 100-yard backstroke, swimming 55.23. The Lawrence men ended Saturday with a third-place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay by the team of Charlow, junior Jordan Spalding, freshman Charlie Phillips and Hutchinson. They completed the event in a time of 7:17.48.
The women also had a strong showing on Saturday. The team of Van Lieshout, Zheng, Lengel, and Blagg finished third in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:52.61. In the 400-yard IM, Riggle took second and junior Sarah Schweickart was eighth with times of 4:45.90 and 5:02.31, respectively. In the 100-yard butterfly, Lengel was third and Garcia was eighth with times of 59.94 and 1:03.48, respectively. Blagg was fifth in the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 2:00.37 and Thompson was eighth swimming 2:00.88. In the 100-yard breaststroke, Zheng was third with a time of 1:09.89 and senior Rosie Bauer was seventh with a time of 1:14.03. Van Lieshout also finished fifth in the 100-yard backstroke swimming 1:02.35. The Lady Vikes finished Saturday’s competition with a third-place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay as the team of Thompson, Duero, Riggle and freshman Mandy Marsh swam a time of 8:15.80.
Sunday’s competition started off with the longest event: the 1650-yard freestyle, or the mile. Hutchison won the event by just over four seconds, completing the event in 16:30.12. Phillips was fifth in the same event with a time of 17:07.45. Also, on the men’s side of the competition, Stahl was fifth and sophomore Liam Wulfman was eighth in the 200-yard backstroke with times of 1:58.83 and 2:03.19, respectively. Goldberg also took home eighth-place in the 200-yard breaststroke in a time of 2:15.63. Phillips also picked up sixth place in the 200-yard butterfly swimming 2:04.90. The Vikings ended the meet with a fourth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay by the team of Yamamoto, Goldberg, Stahl and Hutchinson who finished with a time of 3:13.78. Lawrence ended the meet in fourth place in the men’s team standings with 388 points.
The women started Sunday off strong with Riggle placing fifth and Thompson placing eighth in the 1650-yard freestyle. They finished with times of 18:38.99 and 19:12.24, respectively. The Lady Vikes got a pair of sixth place finishes from two seniors as Van Lieshout was sixth in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:17.45 and Blagg was sixth in the 100-yard freestyle in 55.12. In the 200-yard breaststroke, Zheng was second in 2:32.62 and Bauer was sixth in 2:41.05. Lawrence was fourth and sixth in the 200-yard butterfly as Lengel swam 2:17.73 for fourth place and Schweickart swam 2:29.46 for sixth place. The Lady Vikes capped off their spectacular conference meet with a third-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The team of Blagg, Duero, Marsh, and Lengel swam a time of 3:40.38. Lawrence finished the meet in third place in the women’s team standings with 564.5 points.
“[The] conference meet was great! We all swam really well and had a lot of fun. It’s a great culmination of months of hard work. We did awesome as a team and everyone really gave it their 100 percent effort, and we saw some great results,” added Vogel.