Sagehens Smash Records at SCIAC Championships

Night time was the right time to set school records for the Sagehen relays. The men’s swim team smashed two of them: one to commence and one to close last week’s SCIAC Swimming and Diving Championships.

The 4 x 100 Yard Medley Relay team of backstroker Max Scholten PO ’12, breaststroker Brian Borger PO ’10, butterflier Tommy DePaoli PO ’13, and freestyler David Lee PO ’10 may have finished third in the SCIAC conference behind the teams of University of Redlands and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, but their time of 3:29.73 was fast enough to set a new Pomona-Pitzer record. This year’s team broke the old record of 3:31.62, set in 1993 by Kruger, Frey, Rosenthal, and Carlson, names that only a select few on campus would recognize.

It took a full 17 years to break that record. And Sunday night, the Sagehens opened the SCIAC Championships by destroying it by nearly two seconds, which is a whole lot in swimming time—at least a full body length’s difference.

This year’s relay team included the addition of freshman butterflier DePaoli, as well as Borger and Lee, the two seniors looking to leave their legacy on Pomona-Pitzer swimming. Of course, Scholten, the top-ranked SCIAC backstroker, started off the relay to set a solid pace for breaking the record.

Scholten would go on to break both the school and the SCIAC record in the 200 Backstroke on Tuesday night, with a time of 1:49.49 that ranks him 175th in the nation according to Collegeswimming.com and makes him the only Sagehen this year to qualify for an NCAA A-cut.

Will this record once again be in jeopardy next year? Unfortunately, both Borger and Lee will graduate. The other top breaststroker, Grant Gucinski PO ’10, will also have to leave Sagehen swimming behind. However, Scholten shows no sign of losing momentum, and DePaoli has certainly shown potential as a freshman. Andrew Kinimaka PO ’11 showed promise as a breaststroker with his ninth-place finish in the 100 Breaststroke on Monday, and the freestyle leg could be filled by Joe Labriola PO ‘12 or Ryland Arnoldi PO ’11.

To culminate the SCIAC Championship events Tuesday night, LaBriola, Lee, Arnoldi, and Scholten once again took third in the 4 x 100 Freestyle relay, leaving another P-P record in their wake. The old record of 3:09.82, set a score and three years ago by Smith, Hartwell, Gavenman, and Boyd, had held the title of the oldest living record on the Pomona-Pitzer scoreboard until this year’s flock of Sagehens hit the touch pad at 3:09.08.

If you imagine watching a speeding motorboat with waves emanating from the sides and gigantic splashes of white water flying from the back, you might get an idea of what it feels like to watch the sprinters of the 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay. Records certainly aren’t broken very often at that pace, and not by very much when they are.

Head Coach Bruce Brown reacted immediately to these magnificent, record-destroying spectacles with a series of exuberant shouts and hugs, emerging from the celebration almost as drenched as the swimmers themselves.

Even though Coach Brown has only been here for two seasons and Assistant Coach Michael Wong for one, their new coaching style has brought nothing but improvement for the Pomona-Pitzer swimmers. This year alone saw the establishment of two new relay records and one individual record. Hopefully there will be many more in years to come.