Coming off of two strong wins for both the men and the women, hopes were high as the Maroons strolled into Ratner for their dual meet against Wash U this weekend. While the women were able to remain undefeated, the men fell against the tough Wash U squad. Chicago won a total of 17 events, 11 of which came from the ladies’ side. However, these wins weren’t quite enough to complete the sweep.
Morale remains high for the men’s squad, despite the loss. “I went into every race with a positive mindset and focused only on racing and touching the wall before the Wash U kids,” first-year Winston Wang said. “It also helped that the whole team was supporting each other and feeding off each other despite being down in points.”
A lot of emphasis has been placed on the youth of the men’s squad and for good reason. Once again, the first-years were dominant: Alexander Farrell took first place in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. He also contributed to the 200-yard freestyle relay win with teammate Wang, who also tacked on a win in the 100-yard backstroke. Michael Todd, also a first-year, contributed a 500-yard freestyle victory.
“I think youth could play a role against older teams because first-years haven’t really had much experience with college meets,” Wang said. Wash U seemed to take advantage of the age gap: Of the Bears’ wins, only one first-year posted an individual victory, and there was only one first year on the 200-medly relay winning squad.
On the women’s side, there were almost too many victors to mention. Standout third-year Maya Scheidl added two wins with the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races. She also won the 200-yard freestyle and the medley relay. These four victories contributed to the South Siders’ 165-point total. First-year Anna Girlich swept the dives, and fellow first-years Daria Wick, Cecile Kurman-Browning, Naomy Grand’Pierre, and Christina Cheng were able to chip in through both individual events and the relays.
The Chicago women certainly came ready to swim, as emphasized by Scheidl: “We were definitely pumped for this meet, and every year we look forward to racing Wash U. At this point in the season, many people are broken down and sore, so it was pretty awesome to see some really great races and times.”
While a lot of focus has been put on the first-years of the two teams, there are still significant contributions coming from the returners. Second-year Alex Lin added a win in the 200-yard backstroke and fourth-years Thomas Meek and Andrew Homere raced two legs of the men’s relay win. Third-year Alison Wall placed first in the 200-yard freestyle, while classmate Jessie Ho boosted the 200-yard freestyle relay to a win.
The Maroons are already focusing on the next meet, however. “The Phoenix Fall Classic is a bigger meet, and I know that people are really excited to see how they will swim, especially since the team has been performing really well this season already,” Scheidl said.
Chicago has a week off before it hosts the Phoenix Fall Classic from November 20–22, and although the men suffered a bit of a blow, the Maroons will look to rebound and continue their momentum.