Swimming Starts Year with Big Splash
This winter season individuals on Oberlin’s swimming and diving team have broken personal and school records, in addition to picking up some important victories.
As they head into the North Coast Athletic Conference championship scheduled for February 14-16 at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, Ohio, the Yeomen and Yeowomen boast young but competent teams with swimmers who will be able to flex their muscles amongst some of the finest athletes in the division. The team is ready to improve on its ninth place performance at last year’s championship and will be training hard over the coming week in preparation for the season finale that kicks off on Valentine’s Day.
“The team has done a really good job swimming this season and I expect to see a lot our athletes in the finals. I think a couple of swimmers can even make it to nationals,” said junior and freestyle and individual medley swimmer Sarah Cassella.
After a break for finals and the New Year, the swimming and diving team returned to action on January 5 at the Orange Bowl Classic in Key Largo, Florida. The meet ended with both the men’s and women’s teams in sixth place. The Yeowomen were led by first-year Sara Kadi who claimed a first place finish in the 100-yard butterfly (tapping the wall at 1:09.93), a second place finish in the 200-yard IM (2:34.47) and a fourth place finish in the 50-yard butterfly (31.32 seconds). Junior Scott McInerney had the best performance on the men’s side, completing the 50- meter freestyle in less than 27.0 to earn a fourth place finish.
Oberlin hosted rival Ohio Northern on January 11 in the first dual meet after the break. Ohio Northern came out on top on the men’s side, racking up 189 points to better the Oberlin team’s 92 point effort. The Yeowomen presented better competition for the opposition as they matched the visiting Ohio Northern team point for point throughout the night. Ohio Northern eventually won the final event — 400-yard freestyle relay — to claim a two point victory at 150-148.
Head Coach Mark Fino remarked that he was impressed by the performance. The athletes had literally walked directly off the bus from Florida into Philips gymnasium to participate in the meet.
The Yeowomen would have little rest as the swimmers were in action the next day on January 12 against Notre Dame College in a women’s-only dual meet. Once again, the meet was held at Oberlin’s Robert Carr pool. This time, the Yeowomen outclassed the opposition, finishing the night on top with a 176-111 victory over the visitors.
Kadi led the Yeowomen with first place finishes in three events. Senior Kiri Ulmschneider and first-year diver Christine Martin also put up strong performances for the Yeowomen, claiming two victories each. Ulmschneider came out on top in the 1000-yard freestyle and 200-yard IM events, while Martin led the diving field off the one meter and three meter boards.
Next, the Oberlin team traveled to John Carroll University on January 19, for the second dual meet after the winter break. Picking up where they had left off after the victory against Notre Dame, the Yeowomen dominated proceedings, finishing the night in front at 149-45. First year Jenny Meltz was the star of the evening, breaking her own school record in the 1000 freestyle. Meltz completed the event in 10:51.57 to beat the 10:53.13 record she had set at the December 1st Wooster Invite. She also won the 500 freestyle.
The Yeomen also claimed their second victory of the season at 161-116. Senior Cory Myers led the Yeomen with victories in both the one meter and three meter diving events. Myers boasted nationally qualifying scores with 287.02 points and 288.30 points in the one meter and three meter events respectively.
In the final meet of the regular season, Oberlin welcomed Ohio Wesleyan on January 25. The final home contest of the season was dedicated to the seniors on the team and the athletes honored their veterans with record breaking performances. Meltz, who had set a new school record the previous week at John Carroll in the 1,000 yard freestyle, topped herself by nearly 14 seconds, as she finished the race in 10:37.85. Kadi also set a new Oberlin record in the 400 yard IM, finishing at 4:40.66, almost four seconds faster than the previous 4:44.36 record held by senior Kiri Ulmschneider.
On the men’s side, senior John Hugens won the 1,000 yard freestyle with a season best time of 11:08.27. The 200 freestyle relay team also put up a season best performance, checking in at 1:32.99 to claim the victory. The Yeowomen claimed their third meet victory in a row at 173-124 to finish the season at 6-3 overall (2-1 in the NCAC). That victory earned the team the most dual meet victories at Oberlin in the last 25 years. The men lost the meet 124-151 to close their regular season at 2-6 overall (0-3 in the NCAC).
By the Feburary 14 NCAC championships, Oberlin swimming and diving will have had three more weeks of training and will strive to display their best by winning accolades for themselves and for the College.