This past weekend, beginning on Thursday, Feb. 9 and extending through Saturday, the Wheaton Thunder swim team competed in the CCIW 2017 Conference Championship meet. Each of the three days began with prelims at 10:30 a.m. and ended with finals beginning at 6 p.m. when the top 16 competitors repeated their morning event.
“Every team in the conference has their strengths, and we need to be aware of them,” sophomore Kristen Garner explained before the Saturday morning prelims. “For the women’s team, our big fight is against the Carthage women for first place. If we step it up today, I think we can win … , this would be our 20th conference championship win in a row… it’s our coach’s last year, so it would be a big deal for us to win.”
There was, in fact, a “big fight” for first place, and the Wheaton women were victorious with a final score of 791. Carthage women followed closely behind with 745. CCIW 2017 was the Wheaton women’s 20th consecutive win at the conference championship meet.
The women’s team achieved their victory through some impressive swims. CCIW named senior Erin Bagley the honor of Co-Swimmer of the Meet, with Illinois Wesleyan University senior Meg Stanley, for their performances. Bagley placed first in three individual events, which included the 50 free, 100 breast and 100 butterfly. CCIW named senior Kayla Roberson as the Outstanding Participant for her victory in the 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 breast.
Following the announcement of the women’s team’s 20th conference win, the entire women’s team and coaches, including Jon Lederhouse, jumped into the pool. Lederhouse even swam a few yards of backstroke, his specialty. He was a NCAA College Division Champion in the 100 back and a 15-time All-American during his competitive swimming career.
The Wheaton men won third place with numerous exciting swims as well. Junior Chris Dingfield finished first in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:49.70, which qualified him to compete in the 2017 NCAA Division 3 Championships in Shenandoah, TX in March. Senior Will McCauley came in first for the men’s 400 IM, with a NCAA DIII selected time of 3:59.99, a new personal record for McCauley.
Lederhouse was chosen as Coach of the Year at his last CCIW meet before retirement. All of the coaches from the other teams in the conference dressed up in the same style of polo shirt that has become a trademark of Lederhouse’s within the conference in honor of Lederhouse and all of his incredible accomplishments over the years.