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Swimmers at Championships

The Month of January Provides NCAC Warmup

by Colin M. Smith

After a productive January, the Oberlin swimming and diving team is currently attending the NCAC Championship in Canton, OH.

"Everything is geared toward the conference," Coach Richard Michaels said. The team's training schedule for the season is designed for the swimmers to hit their peak at the championship. Their training starts with an intense period earlier in the season followed by a tapering period so they will be fresh for the Championship.

"The men started tapering about three weeks ago and the women one week ago," Michaels said.

The team began the month of January with a trip to Florida for a week of training. Swimmers typically worked out twice a day over the course of the week and logged up to 12,000 meters a day. Several members of the team were unable to attend the training week due to other Winter Term commitments, which will decrease the eligible roster.

The teams returned for a home meet on Saturday, Jan. 13 against Wooster and Case Reserve. While both the men's team and the women's team came up short of the other two schools, several individual swimmers turned in impressive performances.

For the men, senior John Limouze swam his fastest 500 freestyle since his first-year season with a time of 4:56.20, and senior Evan Cobb swam the 50 freestyle in 23.67.

On the women's side, junior All-American Celeste Mercer and senior Erin Livensparger made lifetime unshaved personal bests in the 200 IM and the 500 free, respectively.

On Jan. 19, the Yeomen held their last home meet of the season against John Carroll. Though the John Carroll swimmers won the meet, the Oberlin relay teams had a great day. The men's 200 medley, consisting of Limouze, first-year Burt Betchart, junior Robb Stephens and Junior Rahula Strohl, beat out the competetion by just under two seconds, 1:44.10 to 1.45.86. The women's 200 medley team, consisting of Mercer, junior Becky Ducore, senior Aurelie Cabou and first-year Nikki Middaugh, produced its best time of the season at 1:56.85.

Ducore also set two lifetime bests with a 32.25 breaststroke split in the relay and a 1:11.59 in the 100 yard breaststroke, while Mercer broke the Oberlin record in the latter event for the third time this year at 1:09.60.

The team rounded out the month with a meet at Kenyon on Jan. 20. They lost again, but several produced notable individual marks. Limouze swam six events, winning the 100 and 200 butterfly and finishing third in the 400 IM. Betchart had an incredible day, winning the 100 backstroke and the 100 and 200 freestyle. Middaugh set a lifetime best with 2:28+ in the 200 backstroke and Ducore produced a personal record in the 200 breastroke with 2:35.72 in her final meet of the season. Ducore is spending the spring semester abroad and will miss the Championship.

Mercer and Limouze have both qualified for the National (NCAA) Division III Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. in March, and thus will swim the NCAC Championship unshaved as part of their tapering training for Nationals. Betchart narrowly missed qualifying for Nationals earlier in the season and should have a good chance of qualifying at the NCAC Championship. For the rest of the team, "It's really about doing our best," Michaels said.

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Copyright © 2001, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 129, Number 13, February 9, 2001

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