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Men’s and women’s swimming kicked off their seasons this Saturday in back-to-back meets at the Myers-McLoraine Pool. The women’s team defeated Wheaton (Ill.) College 190.5 to 103.5, but sank against Boston College, 173 to 127. The same goes for the men, who drowned Wheaton 206 to 82, but were carried away by Boston College’s superior speed, 184 to 112.
Impressively, the women’s team had five individual first-place finishes. Third-year Tara Levens stole the show in the 100-yard backstroke, as did second-years Katherine Crain and Becky Schmidt in the 1,000-yard freestyle and 1-meter dive, respectively. First-year Vivian Yuen took the gold in the 200-yard backstroke along with fellow first-year Winifred Lau, who competed in the 100-yard butterfly. Furthermore, Lau and Levens teamed up with second-years Kathleen Taylor and Andrea McPike to win the 400-yard freestyle relay.
The men did well too. Fourth-year Ed Wagner took first place in the 100-yard backstroke. The gold medals for the 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard butterfly went to third-year Nick Santoro and second-year Charles Du, respectively. Lastly, the relay team of fourth-year James Schlabach, third-year Nick Santoro, second-year Kevin Yang, and first-year Eric Hallman won the 400-yard freestyle.
These performances are especially impressive since Boston College is a Division I team. According to Katherine Crain, “The team did a great job rising up to the challenge of a Division I competitor, Boston College, and an even better job beating a fellow Division III competitor, Wheaton.”
Tara Levens added, “We were within reach of Boston College, which is great considering how early it is in the season. We also did much better against Wheaton than ever before—last year the women’s team only beat them by five points.”
The team is in almost universal agreement that this is an auspicious beginning. As Beck Schimdt explains, “I think our ability to perform so well against such stiff competition this early in the season bodes very well for Chicago!”
However, it is too early for the two teams to rest on their laurels. Jason Weber points out that there are some “technical things with racing and strokes” that the men have to address.
Nick Santoro explains the measures the team is taking to improve these small faults: “Our team will continue to re-analyze race strategy and improve endurance and stroke fundamentals through tough training. At 20-plus hours a week, our team’s practice schedule is on par with several Division I programs.” Ultimately, according to Santoro, “we expect to compete at a very high level because of this.”
At the end of the day, though, both teams did a fantastic job, and according to Santoro, nothing captures the collective sentiment quite so poignantly as “Still Dre” by Dr. Dre, featuring Snoop Dogg. To quote the Good Doctor, “I’ll break your neck, damn near put your face in your lap/ try to be the king but the ace is back.”
So, Maroon fans, get the word out: The ace is back. Go cheer them on this Saturday as they take on Illinois Tech at the Myers-McLoraine Pool.