Swimming and diving teams are on to Conference

Saturday, Jan. 26 was the last swim and dive meet for Lawrence as they go into their conference preparation. The team takes a three week training period between their last regular season competition and their Midwest Conference Championships appearance. This best ensures the utmost success for the team as a whole.

The Wisconsin Private College Championships proved to be one of the most challenging and competitive meets that the team has performed in this season. It was a great way to send them into their three week deep training period, as they are coming off of this previous weekend highly motivated to get better and do well at the conference championships.

In Kenosha, Wis., the Lawrence University swimming and diving teams took four individual titles and a few other close second and third places. Freshman Mizuki Ohama won a pair of titles, one first place finish in the 100-yard butterfly and the other in the 200-yard butterfly. Ohama’s 100-yard time was 1:00.75, and her 200-yard time was 2:11.68. Ohama is here as a part of the Waseda program, and so is unfortunately only competing for Lawrence this season, but she is obviously proving her worth with her many accomplishments in the pool this season. The energy of the team as they cheer her on during her races is unmatched. The team is very proud to have her this year and will be sad for her to leave.

Senior Emmi Zheng also swam away with a win this last weekend. Zheng finished with a time of 1:11:38 in the 100-yard breaststroke. That is not all she contributed to her team, though: with a time of 2:36.01, Zheng took second in the 200-yard breaststroke.

There were three other second place finishes for the lady Vikings. Freshman diver Maddy Smith, was second in the one-meter with a score of 396.15. Freshman swimmer Mae Grahs also came in second in the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 19:26.22. Lastly, sophomore swimmer Erin Lengel added to the team’s points with her second-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle with a 5:31.18 time.

Capping off the women’s swim and dive efforts was the third-place finish of the 200-yard freestyle relay team of junior Bridget Duero, sophomore Amanda Marsh and freshmen Leena Meyers and Laurel Soderquist. Their time was 1:46.66.

The women’s team ended up finishing third overall with 111 points. Carthage College took first in the meet with 274 points. While the Vikings did not end up on top this weekend, they had a lot of great races and competed in every event. Now it’s time to dial in and focus on their Conference Championship performance.

The men’s team came in fourth with 84 points. Carthage College also won the men’s side of the meet with a score of 235. The men are not discouraged by this outcome. They have been competing with the best of the conference all season, even with a small roster. Also, they had some success of their own.

Sophomore Charlie Phillips swam to a first place finish in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:07.92. This victory definitely helped set the pace for the men’s side of the competition. Fellow sophomore Anton Hutchinson grabbed a couple of second place finishes and a third place finish. He took second in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:53.59 and the other second-place finish in the 1650-yard freestyle with a 17:32.82 time. His third-place finish was in the 200 freestyle with a 1:49.06.

Two relay teams helped support the men’s point attainment with a second and third place finish. The 200 medley team of senior Max Stahl, junior Tom Goldberg, Phillips and Hutchinson took second with a 1:43.34 time. The other relay team of Stahl, first year John Berg, junior Liam Wulfman and senior Jordan Spalding took third in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:36.85.

Both teams competed at a high level and showed a lot of heart. Junior swimmer Elise Riggle said, “It was really competitive. Carthage is a division two team, so there was a lot of good competition. And even though everyone was really beat up, a lot of the team swam for their best times this weekend.”

At this point in time, the teams are shifting focus and really looking towards their conference meet. When asked to describe what these next couple weeks will look like, Riggle said, “Every person meets with the coach individually to decide what taper they will be on, which will differ by the lengths of their events. Often times, sprinters have the longest tapers and distance swimmers will have the shortest. Tapering is important because it lets our muscles rest and recover, and it allows us to train more race-pace stuff, which ultimately lets us be as strong and as conditioned as possible for conference.”

As the Vikings gear up for conference, they continue to stay motivated. “It’s pretty easy to lose motivation. I think because our season is so long and swimming is kind of an individual sport in that most of the time it’s just you talking and motivating yourself. We just have to stay motivated to try hard and I think everyone will be proud of the end results,” said Riggle.

The women have a great chance at beating Lake Forest this year, and the men always shine through in conference, especially with a small roster. It is an exciting time for the swim and dive teams. They are preparing to miss some school and are continuing to work hard in the pool to ensure a strong performance at conference.

The Midwest Conference Championships are Feb. 15-17 in Grinnell, Iowa. Good luck, Vikings!