The Wheaton Thunder Men’s and Women’s Swim teams showed their strengths in last weekend’s 2018 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships. Five Wheaton athletes made it to the finale, which ran from Wednesday to Saturday. The Thunder Men’s team consisted of senior Jack O’Connor, junior Chris Szymczak, freshman Will Rinne and freshman Christian Cameron, while the Wheaton women sent junior Brooke Barnes to the competition. The men finished out the competition acquiring 27 points over the course of the event. Individually, Wheaton’s athletes showed their skill throughout the meet. Representing the Wheaton women, Brooke Barnes competed in the 100-yard freestyle swim with a time of 51.47 seconds. She also participated in the 200-yard freestyle, finishing in 1:51.75, and in the 50-yard freestyle, she marked a time of 23.73 seconds.
For the Wheaton men, Szymczak qualified for the 200-yard backstroke finals with a prelim time of 1:48.66 and finished in 12th place in the finals with a time of 1:48.99, which earned five team points. In the prelims of the 100-yard backstroke, Szymczak earned a time of 49.99 seconds. Rinne participated in the prelims of the 200-yard butterfly, qualifying 28th overall with a time of 1:52.654. Rinne raced in the prelims of the 200-yard individual medley and posted a school record time of 1:50.08. In the finals, Rinne finished 15th overall with a time of 1:51.07.
Wheaton qualified for the finals of the 200-yard freestyle relay in 15th place, but the relay squad of Szymczak, Rinne, Cameron and O’Connor lowered its time to 1:22.47 to take in 11th place. The same team took 14th place in the 400-yard medley relay with a time of 3:22.07.
In the 200-yard medley relay, the quartet qualified for the finals in 15th place with a time of 1:32.30. Again, the Wheaton athletes lowered their time in the finals, finishing in 1:32.06 and taking 16th place overall.
Wheaton greatly enjoyed their opportunity to go to the 2018 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships. Rinne said, “It was incredible being able to compete at such a high level and experience going to the meet for the first time. There was a strong sense of bonding between our team, especially the four guys on our relay who swam four relays together. The highlight of the meet for me was watching my teammates swim and cheering them on.” As he continued, he looked forward to next season. “This season I think I’ve grown most in finding what I can contribute to the team, both socially and athletically, and next season I plan to step up more into a more leading role on the team.”
The Wheaton Swim team is finished participating in meets for the 2018 season but are continuing to train in the pool and can’t wait to get back to competitions next year.