Strong weekend for men's and women's swim teams

By Abram Erickson

The Wheaton Men’s and Women’s Swim teams hosted the Wheaton Invitational this weekend at the Jonathan Lederhouse Natatorium. The field of six teams included the Thunder, along with Hope College, Olivet Nazarene University, Washington University of St. Louis, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Augustana College.

Both Wheaton teams finished in second place overall in their meet, with the men’s team finishing with 726 points, second to Stevens Point’s 1,092 points. The women’s team finished with 745.5 points, a mere 41.1 points behind Washington University’s 786.6.

The weekend was full of impressive performances by Thunder swimmers, and many races that were determined by razor-thin margins.

For the women’s team, Brooke Barnes won the 100-yard freestyle in 51.14 seconds, improving over half a second from her national-best time, which was 51.69. Barnes also took first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:51.67, but her time from the preliminaries was even better, which at 1:51.05 ranks third nationally in the event.

On the men’s side, Chris Szymczak won the 100-yard backstroke, with a national top-time of 50.02 seconds that ranks sixth-fastest in Division III this season. Szymczak also won the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:50.68.

Other strong individual efforts for the women included Michaela Sandeno, who won the 100-yard breaststroke with 1:06.47 and finished second in the 200-yard breaststroke. Priscilla Min finished third in the same race, with a time of 2:26.23, fourth in the 400-yard individual medley and fifth in the 200-yard individual medley (IM). Maggie Franke finished third in the 100-yard freestyle, Ashley Bowen took fifth in the 500-yard freestyle and Kirsten Peters finished fifth in the 200-yard backstroke. Abby Rutledge earned fifth place in the 100-yard butterfly and tied for second place in the 200-yard butterfly, with a time of 2:09.12.

Christian Cameron took fourth place in the men’s 100 fly with a time of 50.56 seconds, and third in the 50-yard freestyle. Ben Griffin took third in the 200-yard breaststroke and Jonathan Schofield finished fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke. Ben Mendez posted a fifth place finish in the 200-yard backstroke, finishing in just under two minutes at 1:59.88. Ethan Kile also earned two top-five finishes: fourth place in the 100-yard breaststroke and fifth in the 200-IM.

The relays were a source of excitement all weekend long, and one of the closest races of all was the women’s 400-yard freestyle relay, where the Thunder took second place with a time of 3:32.98. The team of Franke, Hannah Stevens, Rutledge and Barnes finished just behind Washington University’s team, who reached the wall at 3:32.91.

In another close race, the 400-yard medley relay team of Aleah Perkins, Sandeno, Rutledge and Barnes finished second by seven-hundredths of a second with a time of 4:01.34. Wheaton was victorious in the women’s 200-yard free relay, as the team of Franke, Alex McKeaney, Stevens and Barnes took first place with a time of 1:36.85. Another second place finish came in the 200-yard medley relay when Perkins, Sandeno, McKeaney and Rutledge finished in 1:51.08.

The men also had success in the relays, earning four second place finishes over the weekend. In both the 400-yard free relay and the 200-yard free relay, the team of Szymczak, Cameron, Daniel Deysher and Stephen Larson finished second, with times of 3:05.66 and 1:23.48, respectively. In the 200 medley relay, Szymczak, Griffith, Cameron and Larson finished second with 1:32.93, as did the 400 medley relay team of Szymczak, Kile, Cameron and Deysher, who finished with a time of 3:26.63. The men came extremely close to victory in the 200 free relay, losing by a margin of .45 seconds, and the 400 medley relay decided by .61 seconds.

With the conclusion of the Wheaton Invitational, the competition will cease until after Christmas training over winter break. The meets will resume with the Wheaton Quad Meet on Jan. 12, held here on campus at the Jonathan Lederhouse Natatorium.

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