Last weekend the University of Chicago hosted the Phoenix Fall Classic. The Maroons swam to numerous school records and personal bests, propelling both the men’s and women’s teams to victory in their biggest meet of the quarter. The men finished first of 12 teams with 1,022 points, beating the runner-up William Jewell College by a crushing 466-point margin. The women also took first of 14 teams with 972.5 points. DePauw University was a distant second with 519 points.
Together the men and women claimed victory in 20 events and broke six school records. This performance is made even more impressive by the fact that this meet falls so early in the season, which leaves almost three months for further improvement before the UAA Championships.
Gushing about the squad’s performance, fourth-year Maya Scheidl said, “It was the best Phoenix Invitational meet that I’ve had in my college career, and the team performed so well.” Scheidl swam on three winning relay teams: the 200-yard freestyle relay, the 400-yard freestyle relay, and the 400-yard medley relay. She also claimed two individual victories in the 100-yard and 50-yard freestyle.
First-year Taye Baldinazzo claimed one of the team’s six broken school records this weekend with his second-place finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle. His time of 16:03.42 was more than seven seconds ahead of the previous school record. He was followed closely by fellow first-year Aaron Guo, in third place with 16:03.80. Guo was “glad to have been able to go under the old mark of 16:10, and to have been able to race with my teammate…. It’s great to have a couple of solid distance swims down this early in the season.”
The Maroon men and women combined for 30 NCAA B cuts, which bodes well for representation in the national championship meet in March. To compete at the NCAA Championship, a swimmer must be invited in their event based on time. The number of invites changes year to year and for each event. However, when a swimmer is invited in one event, they are allowed to swim in any additional events that they have Bcut times for.
The divers were also successful this weekend, with two divers hitting regional qualifying marks. Second-year Anna Girlich won the one-meter board easily with a score of 430.50, and third-year Dean Boures took second in the three-meter dive with a score of 453.10.
“I know the momentum from this meet will carry through the season, and I can’t wait to see how we continue to compete next quarter,” Sheidl said.