The Emory swimming and diving teams dove into the season early against Division I Pennsylvania State University at the Woodruff Physical Education Center (WoodPEC) last weekend. Penn State defeated both the men’s and women’s team184-107 and 184-115, respectively.
The men’s team collected a handful of individual wins, with juniors Christian Baker and Mitchell Cooper winning the 1,000 freestyle and the 400 IM. Baker clocked a time of 9:40.76 in freestyle, while Cooper came in first place with a cut time of 4:06.08. Baker also fared well in the 500 freestyle, finishing with a time of 4:40.42 to claim a second place finish.
Cooper placed second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 200 backstroke. Emory’s 400-freestyle relay team – freshmen Thomas Gordon, Zachary Chen and Trey Kolleck and sophomore Alexander Hardwick – placed first with a time of 3:09.11.
Despite the loss to Penn State, members of the swim team were excited to start the season off with a good meet.
“[Racing Division I teams] makes you a better, more conscious swimmer,” junior Marcela Sanchez-Aizcorbe said. “Even though our season is long, our enthusiasm is sustained all year.”
Other swimmers noted the early start to the season.
“It was great to see some of our toughest competition this early in the season,” junior Annelise Kowalsky said.
The women’s team won four events. Sophomore Cindy Cheng won the 100 backstroke with a time of 57.47 and sophomore Phoebe Edwards the 400 IM with 4:41.46. Freshman diver Emma Watson won the three-meter, six-dives event, scoring 258.90.
The 400-free relay of sophomore Julia Wawer, freshman Ava Salmi, and juniors Claire Liu and Marissa Bergh also claimed a victory with a time of 3:34.26.
Wawer placed fourth in the 200 freestyle with 1:52.86 and second in the 500 freestyle with 5:09.97. Kowalsky placed second in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:04.75. Bergh and sophomore Mara Rosenstock also placed second in the 100 freestyle and the one-meter, six-dives event, respectively.
Third place finishes included Bergh in the 50 freestyle, Cheng in the 500 freestyle, senior Ellie Thompson in the 100 backstroke, freshman Ashley Daniels in the 100 breaststroke, senior Elizabeth Aronoff in the 200 breaststroke and freshman Meg Taylor in the 100 freestyle.
Both the men’s and women’s teams displayed strong freshmen potential, especially in relays.
“Regardless of the outcome, it was a big success because it allowed freshmen to have some early exposure to racing and got us in the right mindset for starting off the season,” Liu said. “We had a lot of good breakout swims which makes us excited for the rest of the reason, and I can’t wait to see how fast people go.”
Others also look forward to watching their younger teammates grow.
“The freshmen class is a strong and level-headed group,” Sanchez-Aizcorbe said. “There’ll definitely be some that will surprise us at the end of the season.”
In addition to the meet, Cooper and Cheng won University Athletic Association (UAA) Swimming Athletes of the Week awards for the week ending Oct. 4.
The team will be back in the water for the Blue & Gold Intrasquad Meet this Friday on Oct. 9 at 4 p.m.
The women’s team will try to defend their national champion title for the eighth consecutive time this season. The men will try to beat their fourth overall showing last season. Both teams will defend the UAA Championships for the 18th consecutive season.