Swimming Makes Big Splash in Season Opener

In their first meet of the season on Nov. 2, the men and women’s swim teams pulled out huge wins over McDaniel, easing by with room to spare with scores of 119-86 and 112-93, respectively.

Both the men and women’s 200-yard medley relay teams opened the meet with strong performances; Stan Le ’14, Daniel Duncan ’13, Charlie Hepper ’13 and Roger Chin ’13 teamed up to finish in first in 1:41.96, while Nikkia Miller ’16, Pooja Kumar ’15, Supriya Davis ’15 and Kate Wiseman ’15 touched in 1:54.12 — a full three seconds ahead of McDaniel. Despite the early dominance, head coach Sue Davis knew the meets would be closer in the end. “McDaniel swam absolutely fantastically — better than I expected,” she emphasized.

McDaniel swam so well, in fact, that early on in the meet Brad Brooks smashed the pool record in the 1000 freestyle by four seconds, touching first in a time of 9:37.34, nearly a full minute ahead of a solid performance by Josh Turek-Herman ’16.

The Garnet, however, matched the Green Terror by swimming at a level not often seen this early in the season, from Duncan’s win in the 200 freestyle (1:46.78) to Eva Winter ’16 and Nikkia Miller ’16’s 1-2 finish in the 200 individual medley (2:19.50 and 2:19.83, respectively) to Chin’s win in the 100 backstroke (56.53).

From the start, Chin was confident about his team’s ability to deliver the win. “Having swum together through many meets and practices, we know each other’s personalities and motivations,” he said. Likewise, Coach Davis knew her team was prepared to face any challenge the opponent may have presented. “Every member of our team [was] prepared to step up and race hard,” she said.

While the returners played a vital role in both teams’ success, the new freshmen have added valuable depth and support. “The freshman are a great addition to the women’s team,” said Coach Davis, as they took three individual events on Saturday. Winter and Jessica Seigel ’16 accounted for three individual wins, as Winter won the 100 breaststroke by four seconds to go with her win in the 200 individual medley, while Seigel won the 500 freestyle runnng away. Despite the wins, Winter admitted to nerves going into her first swim meet at Swarthmore. “I was definitely nervous since it was our first official meet.” However, she managed to exceed even her own expectations. “I didn’t expect to swim as fast as I did,” she said.

Meanwhile, on the men’s team, four freshmen finished in the top three spots for three individual races. “The freshmen were a great contribution to the meet with their energy and their excitement,” Chin said. Riley Collins ’16, who took second place in the 100 breaststroke, was pleased with both his own performance, as well as the team’s. “We seem to be at a good starting point for the rest of our season,” he said.

The Garnet kept things rolling with a meet last night against Widener.  Against the overmatched and outnumbered Pride, the men thundered to a 108-59 win, while the women delivered a 112-84 statement.  As with the meet against McDaniel, Swarthmore started the evening with definitive wins in the medley relays, pulling away on the butterfly legs of each to win by a comfortable margin.

On Saturday at 1 p.m., Swarthmore takes on perhaps its biggest rival in Franklin & Marshall in the comforts of Ware Pool. Fueled by their confidence coming out of their successful wins against McDaniel and Widener and led by a strong group of upperclassmen leaders, every swimmer is ready to work hard to shave seconds off their times. Collins said all of the upperclassmen are involved.  “Our captains do a great job of keeping us on task, while Nick Sohn ‘13, Fred Toohey ‘14, Zach Gavin ‘14, and Cyrus Nasseri ‘14 lead us in team-building exercises every weekend.”  Furthermore, he said, Duncan and Jake Benveniste ‘14 are “catalysts” for the team in practice.

When asked what the team’s goals were for the upcoming meets, Chin said, “We prepare for each meet with intensity and focus, regardless of the opponent.” Similarly, Supriya Davis answered when asked the same question, “We plan to race hard at every meet, and bring it on at conferences.” Winter summed up the teams’ target in one simple statement: “Swim just as well and even faster.”

Dan Duncan is the Sports Editor for The Phoenix. He was not involved in the production of this article.

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