Under the waters and bright lights of the Madeleine Jude Brown Aquatic Center in the Woodruff Physical Education Center (the WoodPEC) this past Saturday, the Emory men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams handedly defeated Birmingham-Southern University (Ala.).
Several members of the men’s team notched individual victories, including junior Mitchell Cooper in the 1000-yard freestyle (9:38.31), freshman Zachary Chen in the 100-yard backstroke (52.57), junior Christian Baker in the 200-yard freestyle (1:41.39), sophomore Chandler Lichtefeld in the 200-yard individual medley (1:55.22), freshman Thomas Gordon in the 100-yard butterfly (51.83), sophomore Oliver Smith in the 50-yard freestyle (20.91) and sophomore John Copses in the 100-yard breaststroke (59.17).
In the 100-yard backstroke, sophomore Alex Hardwick finished second, touching the wall a mere twelve hundredths (.12) of a second later than Chen. Chen, doing his best impression of Michael Phelps in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, came from behind after trailing slightly at the 50-yard flip turn, and he was able to edge out his teammate.
The 100-yard butterfly provided another photo finish between two Emory swimmers, as senior John Galvin finished fifty-five hundredths (.55) of a second behind Gordon to earn second place. Overall, the men’s team won seven individual events, as well as the 63 points that came with them.
In addition, several other Emory swimmers won exhibition races, which did not count toward the team’s overall score, including Hardwick in the 100-yard freestyle, Lichtefeld in the 200-yard breaststroke, Cooper in the 200-yard backstroke, Baker in the 500-yard freestyle, Galvin in the 200-yard butterfly, and the 800-yard freestyle team composed of Baker, Gordon, Cooper and freshman Alex Kohlman.
“I think we did a great job. We had a tough training week that left us all pretty sore, so this was a good test to see how we do when we’re not feeling 100 percent,” junior David Tao said. “I think we had a good overall performance. Though some of us did struggle, we were able to pick up for the areas we struggled in and win the vast majority of the events.”
The women’s team dominated the pool as well, winning 10 individual events. Out of the 10 victories, three of them, two by junior Annelise Kowalsky and one by sophomore Julia Wawer, set NCAA B cut times. Kowalsky put up a time of 1:05.03 in the 100-yard breaststroke, beating the B cut time of 1:05.49. Kowalsky then went on to post another B time in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:23.01. Wawer had a time of 1:52.88 in the 200-yard freestyle, beating the B cut time of 1:52.99 by a tight margin of eleven hundredths (.11) of a second.
Other women’s team individual winners included junior Claire Lui in the 100-yard backstroke (57.52), freshman Fiona Muir in the 100-yard fly (57.63), junior Marissa Bergh in the 50-yard freestyle (23.93), Kowalsky in the 200 individual medley (2:07.70) and sophomore Rebecca Upton in the 1000-yard freestyle (10:36.76). Additionally, sophomore Mara Rosenstock won the only two women’s diving events with scores of 295.58 in the 1-meter and 266.33 in the 3-meter dive.
In group competition, the 800-yard freestyle relay C team of freshman Anya Kone, sophomore Isabella Issa, sophomore Shelby Fruge and Upton won with a time of 8:09.41, beating Birmingham Southern’s A team by 19 seconds. For reference, Emory’s A team for this event, composed of Wawer, Bergh, freshman Meg Taylor and senior Carolyn Bonfield finished with a time of 7:47.54, in the exhibition race.
Other exhibition victories for the Eagles included Megan Campbell in the 200-yard fly, Wawer in the 1000-yard freestyle, senior Ellie Thompson in the 200-yard backstroke, Fruge in the 500-yard freestyle and Kowalsky in the 200-yard breaststroke.
“Having a really big win against Birmingham-Southern was a good experience to have for the team,” Kowalsky said. “The past few practices have been pretty strenuous. We’ve been focusing on little details in practice, with turns and starts and stuff like that, so that’s what we’re focused on improving on for the next meet.”
For their performance against Birmingham-Southern, three Eagles were named University Athletic Association (UAA) Athletes of the Week: Baker, Kowalsky and Rosenstock. Five Eagles total have now been given the honor as Cooper and sophomore Cindy Cheng were given the award for the week of Oct. 5.
Emory will try to employ the lessons from their stringent practice schedule when they compete in their next meet on Nov. 7 against Savannah College of Arts and Design (Ga.) and Brenau University (Ga.) in Savannah, Ga.