Swim and Dive Sqauds Open Season, Split Meet
The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams swam in their first intercollegiate meet of the season Saturday, competing against the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks (N.C.). The women emerged victorious 195-100, while the men fell 160-131.
“It is difficult to draw any real conclusions from the meet,” Head Coach Jon Howell wrote in an email to the Wheel. “It is early in our season, and at this point, our focus is on getting better every day and moving forward as a team each week … but it was still a very productive weekend for us.”
The women won 14 of the 16 events at the meet, and as a squad recorded a total of six NCAA Division II qualifying ‘B’ cut times. They were led by junior Sadie Nennig, who posted two ‘B’ cut performances. As a result of her performance, Nennig was named the UAA swimmer of the week.
Nennig was extremely satisfied with her performance, especially in light of her struggles in the teams opening split-squad meet.
“I am happy with my improvements from the blue/gold meet, which was rough for me,” Nennig wrote in an email to the Wheel. “I had a much better attitude at the UNCW meet, and I can’t wait to keep on improving as we progress.”
She won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 58.06 seconds, and finished third in the 200-yard backstroke (2:06.78). Nennig also swam the opening leg of the 200-yard medley relay for the Eagles, and was joined by junior Kylie McKenzie, senior Leslie Hackler and senior co-captain Anna Dobben in winning the event (1:48.12).
“Everyone did a great job, especially coming right off of hard training,” Nennig wrote. “Across the board we had a ton of depth in every event.”
In addition to the relay, Hackler won two other events, recording a ‘B’ cut in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:07.92 in addition to finishing first in the 100-yard butterfly (57.76).
Two other ‘B’ cut times were posted by the Eagles in the 200-yard backstroke, which Nennig had finished third in. The event was won by senior co-captain Taryn Lushinsky with a time of 2:05.03 and freshman Ellie Thompson finished second (2:06.00).
Junior Sarah Greene also posted a qualifying mark for the Eagles, earning a score of 274.35 in the one-meter dive and winning the event. Greene was named the UAA diver of the week.
Mikayla Carnley was the only freshman to leave the meet with a win for Emory, completing the 500-yard freestyle in 5:08.82.
Howell liked what he saw from both his veteran swimmers and the new freshmen.
“It was a very strong overall team performance,” Howell wrote. “Our seniors have really led this team in the early season, and that came through this past weekend. The freshmen are still adapting to life at Emory and our program, but clearly they will make an impact this year.”
Though the men’s squad did not end the meet with a victory, they managed six wins and three ‘B’ cut times against a tough Division I opponent.
“We all really stepped up and surprised not only opponents but also ourselves,” junior Ross Spock wrote in an email to the Wheel. “It was a surprisingly close battle against a strong D-I team. We are in much better form than last year.”
Spock contributed to two ‘B’ cut performances for the Eagles, finishing second in the 100-yard backstroke (50.85) and joining junior Jake Stephens, senior Richard Upton and junior Ryan Bass in winning the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:23.09). Spock was named the UAA swimmer of the week.
“My relay-mates … and I had nothing but victory in our minds stepping up to the blocks, and we finished triumphant,” Spock wrote.
The Eagles’ other ‘B’ cut time was delivered by senior Miller Douglas, who won the 200-yard butterfly in 1:53.06.
Other first place finishes for the men came from senior co-captain Peter O’Brien in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:08.21) and 200-yard individual medley (1:56.67), senior Justin Beegle in the 100-yard breaststroke (58.80) and senior Ben Lee in the one-meter dive (237.70).
“Swimming against, and sometimes losing to, these strong teams prepares us for the important races we will face at these Championships,” Spock wrote. “Many of the members of our team can be … intimidated when going up against D-1 squads … but we did not run into this problem this weekend. Everyone remained confident throughout the meet and showed that we are formidable opponents for any team.”
The Eagles will return to the pool Nov. 3, swimming against Florida State University (Fla.) and Florida Southern College (Fla.).
— By Bennett Ostdiek