Freshman swimmer Clio Hancock races at the Denison Invitational, held between Nov. 29 and Dec. 1. Hancock won the 400-yard individual medley at the invitational.
The Emory men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams kicked off the Denison Invitational at Denison University (Ohio) from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, finishing second and third, respectively.
On the men’s side, the Eagles recorded six event wins, 40 NCAA B cuts and one school record over the three days, finishing second overall with 1,872 points, behind No. 1 Denison with 2,936 points.
On the first day of competition, the Eagles totaled five top-four finishes and 13 NCAA B cuts. Senior Trey Kolleck finished second in the 50-yard freestyle with an NCAA cut time of 20.18. Kolleck, along with junior Sage Ono, senior Zachary Chen and freshman Colin LaFave earned silver in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:20.63.
On the second day, the Eagles compiled three event wins, including first-place finishes by freshmen Lucas Bumgarner and Zach Lorson in the one-meter diving with a score of 288.55 and 400-yard IM with a school record time of 3:51.86, respectively. The final win of the day came from Kolleck, senior Alex Kohlman, junior Connor McCourt and sophomore Kellen Stillman in the 800-yard freestyle relay with a time of 6:38.59.
In the final day of competition, the Eagles secured three more event wins. Bumgarner scored 275.95 in the three-meter diving, freshman Jason Hamilton touched first in the 200-yard breaststroke and Kolleck received top honors in the 100-yard freestyle with a qualifying time of 44:09.
“While I had gotten off to a less-than-ideal start the first day of the meet, I spent the last two days of it focusing less on the competition and more on simply swimming my race,” Kolleck said. “While it’s always nice to win a race against a rival like Denison, I was happy because I put together a solid race.”
On the women’s side, the Eagles earned eight event wins and 36 NCAA B cut times over the three-day meet, finishing third with 1,704 points, trailing No. 2 Eastern Michigan University with 2,046 points and front-runner Denison with 2,479 points.
On the first day of competition, senior Fiona Muir secured Emory’s only event win in the 50-yard freestyle with an NCAA-qualifying time of 22.98. The team racked up plenty of B cuts, including both the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard medley relay.
On the second day, the Eagles picked up the pace, winning four of the seven events. Individual event wins included Muir in the 200-yard freestyle, sophomore Lucy Daro in the 100-yard butterfly and freshman Clio Hancock in the 400-yard individual medley (IM).
The Eagles, maintaining third position throughout the first two days of the competition, could not move up the ranks, and finished the final day at Denison in third place.
“To finish the 100 free and see Emory with the first three finishes was amazing and could not be more of a testament to all of the training we have been putting in for races like those,” Muir said of the team’s performance.
More exceptional individual performances came from Muir with a 49.50 win in the 100-yard freestyle and junior Maria Turcanu with a 2:02.22 win in the 200-yard butterfly. Additionally, Muir and Daro, along with seniors Hannah Lally and Meg Taylor, secured the first-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
“We’ve been training really hard this semester, so I was just focusing on my technique and finishing the race strong,” Turcanu added.
The Eagles return to action after winter break on Jan. 11 at Florida Southern College.
Senior swimmer Trey Kolleck (19B) was named the Men’s UAA Athlete of the Week for his efforts in a meet against Queens University of Charlotte (N.C.) on Oct. 20. Kolleck recorded Division III’s fastest time of the year in the men’s 50-yard freestyle, clocking in at 20.76 seconds. The Newburgh, Ind., native also finished with a 45.25 second mark in the 100-yard freestyle, which is currently the fastest DIII time this season.
This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.
Ryan Callahan, The Emory Wheel: How long have you been swimming?
Trey Kolleck: As long as I can remember. About 15 years at this point.
EW: What’s your major?
TK: I’m a BBA and will also be getting a master’s in accounting.
EW: Do you have any pre-game rituals?
TK: Most of the time, it’s just stretching [and] listening to music. That sort of thing.
EW: What’s your favorite game day song?
TK: At the moment, I’d probably say “House of Wolves” by My Chemical Romance.
EW: What’s your favorite memory that you have on the swim team?
TK: At Emory, it’s when the men’s team won nationals in 2017. That was pretty cool because it was the first time we’ve ever done that. … There’s various races and instances [in my life] where [I’ve] caught someone [in a race], but the [2017 NCAA Championship] is definitely up there.
EW: Who is an athlete you look up to?
TK: I like LeBron James. My whole family [is] from Ohio, so I’m a fan of him, but also the fact [that] he is so socially responsible and just tries so hard. It’s so sad he’s going up against one of the greatest dynasties, so it’s kind of like one of those underdog things. He’s top two, if not the best player ever, but he’s still the underdog in every single finals he’s in, so I kind of appreciate that because he’s just going after it.
EW: Who’s your favorite swimmer?
TK: Honestly, my favorite swimmers are the ones that I’m friends with. There’s some I’m friends with that are really fast like Andrew Wilson (17C). It’s weird to say your friend is your favorite swimmer but I’d want him to win the race more than anybody else. He won second at nationals and two events. Then he represented the United States internationally, so that was cool. Also Lily King. She’s the world record-holder in the 100-meter breaststroke right now, and she’s from where I’m from. We’re in the same grade, and we’ve taught kids together. Watching her on [the Olympic] stage is kind of cool.
EW: What are some major life aspirations you have?
TK: I want to have a family at some point. I really like kids so maybe [a couple of] kids. In terms of profession, right now I’m going into accounting and forensics. I want to make a difference in the world. Everyone says that, but I enjoy helping people, and I want to do that in a way that allows me to live comfortably.
EW: Do you have any specific plans after college?
TK: I recently accepted an offer within Grant Thornton’s Forensic group in New York.
The 2018-19 school year has introduced new faces to the Emory Athletics coaching staff, adding Head Diving Coach Michael “Mike” Haun and Head Softball Coach Adrianna Baggetta to the roster.
Head Diving Coach Michael “Mike” Haun
After the departure of former Head Diving Coach Alexandre Kossenkov over the summer, Haun brings his collegiate diving experience and enthusiasm for the sport to his new role.
A former diver at North Carolina State University, Haun currently works as a safety coordinator at the Atlanta Community Food Bank and has coached at Henry W. Grady High School and North Atlanta High School for the past two years. He received his MBA at Georgia College and State University and his bachelor’s degree in business management at North Carolina State.
“Mike really stood out just because he’s so enthusiastic and really committed to the student athletes we have here and the community we’ve built,” Swimming and Diving Head Coach Jon Howell said. “He really is excited to dive in and to see what he can do with the program.”
Although the season will not officially start until late September, Haun has already set high goals with this year’s diving squad.
The past two seasons saw top marks from individual divers. Junior Trevor Burke earned third and second place in the three-meter and one-meter competitions, respectively, at the 2017 UAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Sophomore Katie Kushner earned second place at the 2018 UAA Championships for the one-meter diving competition and finished eighth in the three-meter.
“We want to continue the high performance in the conference championships and the NCAAs and have the success that we’ve enjoyed in previous years,” Haun said. “We want to continue that championship tradition.”
Howell expressed his desire to see the diving team succeed nationally alongside the swimming team and affirmed his belief in Haun’s abilities to reach that goal.
“[Our goal is] to get [the diving program] to a national stage that’s on par with the swimming program,” Howell said. “We’ve had divers as individuals who’ve done that, but I think with Mike’s leadership and his enthusiasm, we can really help that program really take a step forward, and I think it’ll benefit the swimming and diving team as a whole.”
Head Softball Coach Adrianna Baggetta
Formerly the associate head coach of the University of Iowa softball team, Baggetta touts Division I national recruiting experience and a solid understanding of the Emory student athlete in her new role as Emory’s head softball coach, replacing former Head Coach Penny Siqueiros.
Baggetta spent the past 16 years as a Division I coach, split equally between the University of Iowa and the University of South Carolina where she was also a team member from 1999 to 2002.
“[We were looking for] somebody who … can help people grow and who also understands the importance of academics,” Clyde Partin Senior Director of Athletics Michael Vienna said. “We want success certainly in terms of wins and losses, but first and foremost, [someone who] understands that the athletics program is part and parcel of a larger Emory education.”
Coming from Division I and Division III schools, Baggetta noted that both environments had a similar emphasis on academics.
“It’s still the same mindset,” Baggetta said. “We’re still here to be champions in the classroom and on the field.”
Last year, the Eagles clinched their 11th UAA Championship title after a 7-1, 6-3 doubleheader victory against New York University on April 27. Their season ended during the NCAA DIII tournament, eliminated only after a 5-2 loss to Maryville College (Tenn.) on May 12.
Baggetta hopes to build off the momentum from the team’s success.
“I appreciate and put a lot of value on what has already been built as a softball program,” Baggetta said. “I’m looking forward to moving this program to where it’s a national contender year in and year out.”
Editor’s Note: Editorial Page Editor Madeline Lutwyche (20C) is a member of the Emory Swimming and Diving team. She was not involved in the composition or editing of this article.
The Emory swimming and diving team celebrates on the fourth day of the NCAA Division III Championships. From March 21-24, the Eagles won their 11th consecutive and 24th overall team national championship. Courtesy of Anastasia Hrivnak anastasiahrivnak.com
Emory’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams returned from the NCAA Division III Championships on March 21-24 with their 11th consecutive and 24th overall team championship trophy and 15 national titles. Capitalizing on their success at the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships last month, the women’s team continued its national dominance over 60 teams by garnering 603 points, 103 ahead of No. 2 Kenyon College (Ohio), while the men’s team secured second place out of 54 teams with 369.5 points, trailing No. 1 Denison University (Ohio) by 227 points.
From day one, both teams proved their aptitude for the top spot on the podium with a combined total of five national titles and three NCAA DIII records.
Junior Fiona Muir kicked off the women’s national title run, winning her career-first 50-yard freestyle after breaking the DIII record during prelims with a time of 22.48. Following her victory, Muir, alongside junior Meg Taylor and seniors Cindy Cheng and Megan Campbell, broke another NCAA record in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:40.12.
On the men’s side, junior Thomas Gordon stole his first ever national title in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:23.70, almost 1.5 seconds faster than the runner-up. Senior Oliver Smith claimed the 50-yard freestyle for the third consecutive year, joining the ranks of only three other male swimmers to win the 50-yard freestyle thrice in DIII history, including Emory Head Coach Jon Howell (Kenyon, 1988-90). During prelims, Smith broke the NCAA DIII record with a time of 19.37.
“I couldn’t have planned a better ending [to my senior year],” Smith said. “I’d been aiming at that record since I was a freshman at Emory. Back when I started here, aiming at that record was a long shot, but I knew if I worked hard for it, I could get it. Accomplishing that was putting the cherry on top.”
The men rounded out the first day of competition with Emory’s second straight victory in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:27.63 from Smith, sophomore Sage Ono, senior Cooper Tollen and junior Trey Kolleck.
The second day of the meet on March 22 brought out stiffer competition from opponents like Denison and Kenyon, but Emory still acquired three national titles and one school record.
The women expanded their lead to 64 points with steep finishes by Cheng and Muir in the 200-yard freestyle and the foursome of Cheng, Muir, Campbell and junior Hannah Lally in the 400-yard medley relay. Cheng won her first individual national title of the meet, defending her 200-yard freestyle championship title with a time of 1:46.89.
To conclude the evening, the men obtained their third straight title in the 200-yard freestyle relay with Ono, Kolleck, senior Aaron Schwartz and Smith scoring a time of 1:18.61, lagging .04 seconds behind their Emory-record-breaking preliminary time. Ono, Smith, Kolleck and Tollen collected the third relay title for the Eagles in the 400-yard medley with a time of 3:13.97.
The Eagles preserved their respective standings on the third day with record-breaking performances by both teams. Cheng, senior Julia Wawer, Muir and Taylor set a new DIII record in the 800-yard freestyle relay with a time of 7:13.51, while Ono surpassed Emory’s 100-yard backstroke record, claiming a career-first individual title with a time of 47.62. The men’s team cut the race for national runner-up close just 7 points ahead of Kenyon.
On the final day, the Eagles solidified their impressive standings. The women’s team capped off their ever-growing lead with 603 points, brought on by national titles and stellar finishes in the 100-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relay, to win their ninth consecutive women’s national championship. The men’s team wrapped up the weekend with 369.5 points, 227 points behind Denison, to secure the national runner-up title.
“I think [winning a national championship is] always a great way to end my season,” Cheng said. “Even though some races didn’t go how I wanted them to go, our team is such a close knit family that it made it so much better than I could’ve ever imagined.”
The Eagles celebrated a busy four days on the podium, winning a grand total of 15 national titles across both teams. After the meet, Smith received the title of College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Men’s Swimmer of the Year in the wake of his six national titles and multiple broken records. In addition to the athletes’ accolades, Head Coach Jon Howell earned his seventh CSCAA Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year title.
“This program is more than just the swimmers and divers who are currently in the pool,” Howell said. “It’s a whole culture of people who have really worked very hard to elevate the program during their time here … That’s how this program has developed over the years. Everybody leaves their mark and allows the next group to do something even better.”
The last time Emory’s swimming and diving teams lost the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships, Bill Clinton was president, Google was merely an idea and Seinfeld was still airing new episodes. With the opportunity to stretch their streak of titles to 20, Emory’s men’s and women’s teams each delivered at the Feb. 14-17 UAA Championships. The women dominated with 2049 team points, well ahead of No. 2 New York University’s (NYU) 1246 points. The men’s competition was a tighter race, with Emory’s 1725 points giving them a 206 point victory over second place NYU.
Emory welcomed seven UAA rivals into the WoodPEC as hosts of the 31st annual UAA Swimming and Diving Championships. That hospitality did not extend into the pool, as Emory came prepared to take care of business.
The week began with the one-meter diving competition, in which Emory freshman Katie Kushner provided the best result of any Emory diver at UAA’s. Her score of 450.2 points was good for second place in the event. She also finished No. 8 in the three-meter.
“I was really happy with my performance on one-meter, that’s kind of my favorite board and the one that I feel most consistent and confident on,” Kushner said. “It was my first real big college meet, so I feel very happy with how I ended up.”
Though the men’s team didn’t have any divers at the meet, they were well prepared to make up the points in the swimming events. A key contributor to that effort was junior Tom Gordon, who dominated the distance freestyle events. His first-place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle (1:39.34), 500-yard freestyle (4:28.65) and mile (15:34.65) were good enough to earn him the men’s UAA Swimmer of the Year award.
“[Swimmer of the Year] represents, not myself, but the entire team,” Gordon said. “I found a long time ago in swimming that, if you swim for yourself and to just get times and get on the podium, you end up falling short of any goal you have. If you find a way to make it about your teammates … it makes it all so much easier.”
Gordon also anchored Emory’s champion 800-yard freestyle relay team, which was led by junior Alex Kohlman and followed by junior Matt Rogers and freshman Kellen Stillman.
“Before any of us step up on a block for a relay, your mind knows that we were chosen to be on that relay and represent Emory,” Gordon said. “It’s not just any other race. Being up there, not just with the three guys on that relay with me, but having my parents and seeing some of my friends up in the stands … that moment before I dove in is going to stick with me for a while.”
The women’s UAA Swimmer of the Year award also went to an Emory swimmer, senior Cindy Cheng, who earned the award for the third consecutive season. She is the third woman in UAA history to accomplish the feat, according to Emory Athletics.
“I am really happy that my hard work has paid off,” Cheng said. “[But] even though all of the accomplishments that I did at this meet were awesome, I am definitely still shooting higher and trying to go win at Nationals as well.”
Cheng left no stone unturned in her final UAA Championship meet, touching first in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:47.94 and sweeping the backstroke events, going 54.16 in the 100 and 1:57.87 in the 200. She set UAA records in all three races. She also contributed to victories in the 200-yard and 400-yard medley relays and the 400-yard and 800-yard freestyle relays.
For both teams, the freestyle events were largely an Emory heyday. In the 50-yard freestyle, junior Fiona Muir claimed first with a time of 23.05, good enough to break her own UAA record of 23.12, followed closely behind by junior Meg Taylor at 23.38. The 100-yard freestyle may have been the greatest stunner, with Muir and Taylor going one-two yet again, followed by seniors Ming Ong, Julia Wawer and sophomore Caroline Olson, giving the Emory women a first through fifth place sweep in the event.
That dominance also showed in the freestyle relay events, with the Emory men and women reaching the top of the podium in each of the 200-yard, 400-yard (another UAA record) and 800-yard freestyle relay events.
Senior Oliver Smith swam his final UAA Championship meet in great form, winning the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 19.93, the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 44.53 (a UAA record), and second in the 100-yard butterfly, just 14 hundredths of a second behind Washington University in St. Louis’ junior Andrew Pek.
Likewise, senior Rebecca Upton closed out her final chapter in the UAA with an incredible, albeit exhausting, performance. On Thursday, Upton finished No. 3 in the 500-yard freestyle behind teammates Cheng and Turcanu, then swam both the mile and the 200 butterfly on Saturday. She finished second in the mile behind teammate junior Julia Durmer before she claimed victory in the 200-yard fly with a time of 2:03.06.
“The [200 butterfly] has always been my favorite and has always been the most challenging mentally, for me,” Upton said. “I honestly think it would have been a best time had I not swam the mile earlier in the day. I hit the 150 and I was like ‘Man, I think I’m going like a pace for a 2:01,’ and I was, and then I started on that fourth 50 and I was like, ‘Oh God, there go my legs, there go my arms.’”
Upton’s results speak to another facet of this meet: Emory athletes often find themselves battling one another for the top spot in their events.
“As much as it is great to be part of a team that is really successful, a lot of the success is due to how close we are,” Kushner said. “As much as we care about winning, we just honestly want everyone to do their best, and I feel like this weekend we did.”
Other strong finishers included sophomore Sage Ono, who won the 100-yard backstroke, and junior Ashley Daniels, who touched first in the 100-yard breaststroke and second in the 200-yard. On the men’s side, Cooper Tollen finished No. 3 in the 200-yard breaststroke.
With two decades of consecutive UAA titles to consider, the meet results were a celebration of both the current team’s accomplishments as well as the accomplishments of the many Emory athletes that came before them.
“That first group [in 1999] contributed to what this group did, and every team in between has kind of added something to it and moved things forward a little bit more,” Head Coach Jon Howell said. “When you start looking at it being 20 years, it’s much bigger than this current team, though this current team has added something that future generations will also benefit from.”
On top of the team’s other successes, the Emory coaching staff composed of Howell and assistant coaches Bobby Hackett, Cindy Fontana, Chris Marshall and John Petroff earned Men’s and Women’s Coaching Staff of the Year honors at the conclusion of the weekend.
Emory swim will suit up again for a last-chance qualification meet, the Queen’s Invitational, in Charlotte, N.C., Feb. 23-24. The 2018 Region II Diving Championships will take place March 2 and 3 in San Antonio, Texas, before the season’s conclusion at the 2018 NCAA DIII National Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., March 23-24, when the Eagles will try to defend their 2017 titles.
Editorials Page Editor Madeline Lutwyche is on Emory women’s diving team.
Last week’s University Athletic Association (UAA) Swimming Athlete of the Week Oliver Smith (18C) qualified for the NCAA Men’s Division III Swimming and Diving Championships after he touched first in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.33 seconds in a dual meet against the University of Georgia Feb. 3. The senior is a biology major from Milan, Mich. The team competes next at the UAA Championships, starting Feb. 14.
Annie Uichanco, The Emory Wheel: What’s your go-to warm-up song?
Oliver Smith: I like a lot of Eminem. I don’t have one [favorite song] in particular.
EW: What’s your perfect pre-game meal?
OS: Chicken parm. … I love chicken parm.
EW: What’s the most embarrassing thing to happen to you in the pool?
OS: One time — this is why I always wear two caps — one time, I dove in for a race. I was at an age group meet or whatnot, and my goggles fell off. They had slid off my head and sunk to the bottom of the pool. After my race, I had to go back to the middle of the pool — and everyone was waiting — and dive to the bottom and try to find them.
EW: Favorite sports film?
OS: What I’m thinking right now is “42” about Jackie Robinson. That was a good one, but there are so many of them. I really love all sports films.
EW: Who’s an athlete that you look up to?
OS: I look up to my brother a lot. He was an athlete, he swam in college and now he’s in [medical] school, so he’s kind of my role model.
EW: Do you have a motto that you live by?
OS: My family, growing up, we had this motto. It was meant as a joke whenever me and my brother got in a fight, but I kind of took it to heart. It’s called, “Life’s a competition. Don’t lose.” So when I’m swimming, I kind of use that.
EW: What’s one thought you have before jumping into the pool?
OS: “This is gonna hurt.” In respect to holding my breath, especially.
EW: What is one major aspiration for you in life?
OS: Right now, I’m at a place where I’m kind of deciding what I want to do next, so I plan on swimming next year. If I can get fast enough this summer, then I’ll continue swimming to see if I can aim for Olympic Trials in 2020.
EW: Confession time. Do you pee in the pool?
OS: Oh yeah, absolutely. Every swimmer does, and if they tell you no, they’re lying.
This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.
Swimmers take flight at the start of a race in Emory University's meet at Georgia Institute of Science and Technology. Parth Mody/Photo Editor.
The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) Yellow Jackets demolished the Emory men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams in a matchup of Atlanta rivals Jan. 27.
The Yellow Jackets built a significant margin of victory over the men’s team and women’s teams, topping them by scores of 150-82 and 162-56, respectively.
Despite the victory by the Division I team, the Eagles welcomed the opportunity to face a strong swimming program at the McAuley Aquatic Center, the site of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics swimming and diving events.
Sophomore Sage Ono was Emory’s star performer of the day, securing Emory’s only first-place finish out of 26 events. Recording an NCAA Division III Championship B cut benchmark with a time of 49.91, Ono was the only swimmer in the 100-yard backstroke to finish with a time under 50 seconds. Ono swam past five Yellow Jackets and four Eagles, besting the second-place finisher by just under two seconds.
Junior Thomas Gordon posted an NCAA Division III B cut in the 1650-yard freestyle. With a time of 16:16.24, Gordon finished third, more than 20 seconds off the pace of the first-place swimmer.
Emory’s men’s team also registered top three finishes in the 50-yard freestyle, the 200-yard freestyle and medley relays. Senior Oliver Smith turned in a strong day in the pool, posting a second-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.39 seconds and contributing to top three finishes in two relay races.
On the women’s team, senior Phoebe Edwards was the squad’s top performer, touching the wall second in the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 17:18.27, a NCAA Division III B cut.
Along with Edwards’ spectacular performance, the women’s team recorded five more top three finishes. Senior Cindy Cheng in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:54.23; junior Fiona Muir in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.21 seconds; and the 200-yard freestyle relay team consisting of Muir, senior Ming Ong, sophomore Caroline Olson and freshman Lucy Daro all posted second place finishes clocking in at 1:37.64. Additionally, Ong in the 500-yard freestyle, clocking in at 5:11.93, and junior Ashley Daniels in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:05.59, both finished third.
Muir considered Saturday’s meet to be a solid platform for the team to prepare for more intense competition moving forward.
“[Georgia Tech] was a good chance for us to go face good competition” Muir said. “It got us into the right mindset headed into the championship season where we will see some solid competition headed into those races as well.”
Head Coach Jon Howell said that facing Division I teams is an important learning opportunity because it exposes the team to some of the nation’s premier programs.
“There are always opportunities to learn from experiences like we had this weekend,” Howell said. “Our goal is always to get up and earn some respect by racing in those types of environments. … The goal isn’t necessarily to win the meet, but to go up against fast competition and get some races in.”
Ono discussed the benefits of facing Georgia Tech and vying against high caliber competition.
“[Georgia Tech] provides a really great opportunity to race against people we generally wouldn’t be racing in any other setting,” Ono said. “Because of this [opportunity], the team really stepped and competed better than they normally would at a dual meet.”
Emory anticipates another challenging matchup in their last dual meet of the year at the University of Georgia Feb. 3.
The Emory women’s swimming and diving team emerged victorious while the men’s team came up short at a swim meet at Delta State University (Miss.) in Cleveland Jan. 20.
Emory’s women took home a victory in tri-meet, topping the Delta State Statesmen 163.0-136.0 and the University of West Florida Argonauts 168.0-132.0. Squaring off only against Delta State, the men were bested at the hands of the Statesmen, 170.5-123.5.
Saturday’s meet came on the heels of a three-week winter training trip, where the team spent two weeks on campus and traveled to Florida to train for the homestretch of the season.
Head Coach Jon Howell emphasized the importance of the training, explaining that it allowed the team to focus on swimming.
“Our training trip is an opportunity for us to act as professional athletes,” Howell said. “The team doesn’t have to worry about balancing school and the stresses of college life.”
In a total of 16 events, the women’s team recorded four first-place finishes and seven second-place finishes. Seniors Cindy Cheng and Rebecca Upton along with freshman Bethany Seagraves led the squad’s individual efforts, claiming first in their respective events.
Upton was the first swimmer to touch in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:08.3. With the race close throughout, Upton clinched a tightly contested victory.
“It was a really tight race, and it was really neck and neck for about half of it,” Upton said. “The race got very tight at the end of the race as well, and I only out-touched the [West Florida] swimmer by two-hundredths of a second.”
Cheng was the first to finish in the 100 yard backstroke with a time of 57.13, and Seagraves led the pack in the 200 yard backstroke 2:07.40.
Emory also notched a first-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Cheng, juniors Fiona Muir and Meg Taylor and sophomore Caroline Olson all contributed to a time of 1:38.03.
Despite four first-place and 10 second-place finishes, the men’s team came up short against Delta State. Securing individual victories, senior Oliver Smith in the 50-yard freestyle, junior Matt Rogers in the 200-yard freestyle and freshman Sven Mesihovic in the 400-yard IM delivered the team’s best performances.
The meet was one week after the team’s workout-filled training trip. Smith said that the training trip provided crucial preparation for the remainder of the season.
“The team puts in a lot of hard work during our training trip to approach the end of our season,” Smith said. “I’m normally pretty broken down after, so to go the time I did after the training trip, I was happy with it.”
Howell noted that the team rebounded from the trip and performed well, despite the intensity of the training.
“Coming off of our winter training trip, everybody on the team is still tired,” Howell said. “Given all the circumstances we were able to stay poised and do a nice job.”
The 200-yard freestyle relay team consisting of Smith, seniors Alexander Hardwick and Aaron Schwartz and sophomore Sage Ono also posted one of Emory’s four first-place finishes with a time of 1:23.74.
Smith reflected on the challenge of facing Division II opponents and how it affected the team’s approach to the meet.
“We faced [Delta State] last year and they were really tough, so we expected another challenging meet,” Smith said. “Going up against a school that is a division higher than what you normally go up against gives you a level of racing you don’t normally get in Division III.”
In their next meet, the Eagles will travel to take on Atlanta rival Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) Jan. 27. Georgia Tech provides a unique challenge to the Emory swimming and diving teams each year, giving the Eagles the opportunity to vie with Division I athletes.
Emory swimming and diving accustoms to a championship-style meet at the Emory Invitational Nov. 3 to 4. Giufurta/Contributing
The Emory men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams took home first in a two-day meet Nov. 3 to Nov. 4. Emory hosted the Emory Invitational and bested a field of five NCAA Division II schools.
With an accumulated 757 points, Emory’s women’s team built a convincing lead, scoring nearly 200 points more than No. 2 Wingate University (N.C.). Out of 19 events over the course of two days, the women secured 13 first-place finishes.
Leading the way for the Eagles, senior Cindy Cheng raced in four individual events and three relays. Cheng blew past the competition in each of her individual events, collecting victories in the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard backstroke and 2000-yard freestyle. Her success carried over to relays as well, where she notched another first-place finish.
“The biggest challenge for me was having to come back for another race, even though there was only 20 minutes between each one,” Cheng said. “But that was the point of the entire meet, to see how well we could manage multiple races at one time.”
Given that this is only their fifth meet of the season, Emory is building lactate tolerance for the multi-session meets further down the road.
“The objective was to get the team used to more of a championship format,” Howell said. “Having them do two sessions back-to-back and compete in several races in a short period of time teaches them how to recover and how to manage multiple races.”
Five other women tallied first-place finishes, including junior Fiona Muir, who claimed first in two races. Along with 10 individual victories, Emory added three team victories from the 400-yard medley relay, 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay races.
Given the team’s success, Cheng said that Saturday’s performance set a solid foundation for the team to continue its success throughout the rest of the season.
“[This weekend] was a good indicator of where we are in midseason,” Cheng said. “Everyone had a great weekend, so the team is setting up to have success on national level.”
Emory’s men’s squad was also successful, amassing 664 points and nine first-place finishes out of a total 19 events. The Eagles topped No. 2 Wingate by 47 points.
Senior Oliver Smith and sophomore Trevor Burke tallied in as the top performers of the men’s team, each earning multiple first-place finishes. Burke received the top score in both the 3-meter and 1-meter dives with scores of 291.08 and 296.63, respectively.
Smith attributed his success to his pre-competition routine.
“I wanted to focus on my mental state before the race, the kind of music I listen to and how much warm-up I do,” Smith said. “My goal was to prepare that warm-up routine — that way it takes away some of the pressure at the meet.”
Smith touched the wall first in two individual events, the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyles, and contributed to two first-place relay teams, the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard medley. Contributing to Emory’s nine event victories, juniors Thomas Gordon and Matt Rogers, sophomore Sage Ono and freshman Sven Mesihovic touched with top times.
Smith also praised his teammates’ performances.
“There were some individuals who really stepped up and surprised us,” Smith said. “Everyone as a whole put out some fast times.”
Howell said that he was pleased to see his team’s preparation pay off.
“There were improvements in lots of areas considering it has been two weeks since we’ve really raced,” Howell said. “We always look at meets as a way to apply what we did in practice, and [the team] did a nice job with that.”
Emory will split its men’s and women’s teams Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 to compete in both the Miami University (Ohio) Invitational in Oxford, Ohio, and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) (Ga.) invitational in Savannah, Ga.