It was a dominant weekend for the University of Chicago swimming and diving teams, as both men and women decisively outswam the competition to win the annual Phoenix Fall Classic.
Playing host, the Maroons wrapped up the three-day meet with convincing victories. The women scored 1,666 points to beat the 10-team pool, more than doubling the score of runner-up Lewis University (796 points). The men similarly outpaced their 11-team competition, recording 1,322.5 points ahead of, once again, Lewis University with 973 points.
The meet was an altogether impressive outing for the Maroons, who collected 32 NCAA B-cuts, three school records, and two pool records. The NCAA B-cuts indicate that an athlete has been entered into the group of potential swimmers for the NCAA individual championships; an A-cut is an automatic qualifying time for the championships in March, while the swimmers with the fastest B-cuts fill the remaining available slots.
Chicago began its showing in strong fashion, taking first in five out of six events on Friday evening. Setting the tone for the weekend, third-year Bryne Litschgi broke the school record in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 48.50 when he led off his 400-yard medley relay.
On Saturday, Litschgi once again cemented his place in program history. With a time of 1:45.07, he set a new school and pool record in the 200-yard backstroke. His time, a NCAA B-cut, was also faster than last year’s NCAA event champion. Litschgi was joined by fellow third-year George Reuter in the Chicago record book. Reuter’s 200-yard butterfly time of 1:48.33 broke the school record and marked a personal best.
One more record would fall over the weekend, when third-year Taye Baldinazzo swam a personal best of 1:38.56 to break the pool record in the 200-yard freestyle.
Across the board, the program witnessed strong performances from individual athletes. The female diving trio of third-year Agnes Lo, first-year Elizabeth Cron, and fourth-year Anna Girlich posted NCAA B-cuts in the one-meter dive, while Lo added another B-cut in her winning effort on the three-meter dive.
First-year Martin Baffico captured the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke, in addition to making B-cuts, while fellow first-year Nick Ding finished first in the 400-yard individual medley with a NCAA B-cut of 3:58.15. On the women’s side, first year Sandra Wong won the 200-yard fly and recorded a NCAA B-cut, and second-year Taylor Hammill won both the 1,650-yard freestyle and then the 500-yard freestyle, capturing the NCAA B-cut in the former. Altogether, there were 11 NCAA B-cuts posted by rookies, a promising indication for the program’s long- and short-term goals.
The Maroons ended the 2018 portion of their schedule with a convincing victory against plentiful competition. They will continue to train throughout the quarter and winter break, before heading into the new year. Their next meet begins Friday, January 18, against Lewis, again, and Olivet Nazarene University.