Emory’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving team continued to dominate the pool as they advanced 2-0 on the season after prevailing against Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD) (Ga.) last Saturday in the WoodPEC.
The Eagles showcased their speed in the 32-event meet by stealing 12 event victories apiece for the men’s and women’s side.
“Overall, we went out there and applied what we’ve been learning in practice and just did really well,” Head Coach Jon Howell said. “We have a really good team and a really motivated group, so they’re definity making progress.”
On the women’s side, the Eagles took down last year’s National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) champions, SCAD, with an end score of 146-97. Junior Ming Ong was among the individual event victors, taking first in the 1,000 freestyle with a time of 10:26.21 and racing 4:31.22 for a NCAA B cut qualifying time, as well as placing first in the 400 IM. Junior Cindy Cheng also triumphed in the 400 freestyle (5:01.76) and earned a NCAA B cut time in the 200 freestyle (1:51.59). Sophomore Fiona Muir pulled off two individual event wins Saturday, swimming 24.12 in the 50 freestyle and 57.87 in the 100 butterfly. Muir and Cheng joined teammates senior Claire Liu and freshman Nadia Riverso as they took home the win in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:36.31.
The women’s team has been training vigorously since early on in the season, and their hard work seems to have paid off in the recent meet.
“Because of all our hard training, our team is really strong this year,” Ong said. “We’ve been able to race some really impressive times like in the 200 free relay. It’s exciting to see people getting so fast so early on in the season.”
Other notable first-place finishers included junior Sia Beasley, who acquired the third and final NCAA B cut time of the meet of of 58.20 in the 100 backstroke; senior Annelise Kowalsky, who swam the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.32; senior Marissa Bergh, who raced a time of 53.18 in the 100 freestyle; and freshman Caroline Olson, who accomplished a time of 2:07.68 in the 200 backstroke. The last event victory of the meet went to Bergh, Liu, Kowalsky and freshman Maria Kyle in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:45.92.
Despite Emory’s history of beating SCAD, the women’s team always views dual meets as an opportunity to challenge themselves.
“We try to never get too comfortable racing anybody regardless of whether we’ve beaten them in the past,” Kowalsky said. “No matter who the competition is, we try to continually race at our highest level to prepare us for qualifying for nationals.”
The men’s team edged out the competition, earning a score of 142-109 and 31 top finishes. Senior Andrew Wilson swam first place in the 100 breaststroke (55.88) and the 200 breaststroke (2:07.71), earning NCAA B cut times in both events. Freshman Sage Ono claimed a victory in the 100 backstroke with a time of 50.39, and senior Mitchell Cooper placed first in the 400 IM with a time of 4:05.76, both garnering NCAA B cut times. Swimming 20.34 in the 50 freestyle, junior Oliver Smith also earned a NCAA B cut time. Smith, senior Hayes Burdette-Sapp, junior Alexander Hardwick and sophomore Trey Kolleck pulled off the last NCAA B cut time of the meet on the men’s side in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:22.75.
Smith, recently coming off of a shoulder injury, was especially happy with the swim team’s times this week.
“I think mine was probably the fastest I’ve ever swam in season,” Smith said. “All the good races we’ve gotten in sets us up nicely for the rest of the season.”
With a time of 9:30.86 in the 1,000 freestyle and 1:54.38 in the 200 butterfly, senior Christian Baker contributed two individual victories to the Eagles. Other individual event victors included Cooper in the 100 butterfly with a time of 51.42, Kolleck in the 100 freestyle at 45.98 and junior Chandler Vandiford in the 200 backstroke at 1:54.56. Freshman Evan Brock joined Cooper, Smith and Wilson to place first in the 200 medley relay.
After this past weekend’s performance, the team feels optimistic toward the rest of the season.
“Everyone is throwing out their best times, so it’s exciting to see where the season is going,” Smith said. “We’ve got some very strong athletes, so the NCAA championship is definitely on our radar this year.”
The athletes will return to the pool after Thanksgiving, competing at both the Savannah College of Art and Design (Ga.) Invitational and the Miami Invitational in Oxford, Ohio, Dec. 1 to 3. The Eagles will compete in Oxford to qualify for the NCAA nationals.