The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer swim and dive teams battled in the Sixth Street meet Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, in a meet that holds extra emotional investment for many of the athletes. Ultimately, the CMS women and P-P men ended the two-day meet on top.
The Athenas triumphed over the Sagehen women, winning 12 out of 15 events and finishing with a lead of 195-158.
The first day of women’s competition was highlighted by Jocelyn Crawford’s CM ’20 shining performance in the 50-yard freestyle, where she not only won, but beat her own school record in the event. The Athenas also pulled out individual wins in the one-meter dive, the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard IM, and 200-yard freestyle relay.
The meet had more energy and excitement than usual, as the rivals are so evenly matched this season.
“The meet didn’t feel like a regular dual meet because the teams are closely matched in terms of talent and ability,” Mia Syme CM ’21 said. “It made every race exciting.”
This was the first time back in the pool for Syme, after being out with an injury. Syme is the CMS school-record holder in the 500 and 1,650 meter freestyle. She explained she was nervous to compete against P-P after missing previous meets. Being injured “was discouraging because it felt like I wasn’t able to contribute to my team doing well,” she said.
However, Syme wasted no time in coming back and making important contributions to the team win, finishing third in the 500 on Friday, and coming back the next day to comfortably win the 1,650.
Syme emphasized that the Athenas’ toughness in close races were instrumental to their win.
“The Athenas swam with grit and found ways to get their hands to the wall first,” she said. “The [first-year] class played a critical role in helping us win the meet with some very inspiring performances.”
On the men’s side, the Sagehens won the meet over CMS 203.5-149.5. A large part of the P-P victory was due to Paddy Baylis PO ’22, and his decisive win and new program record in the 1650 with a time of 15:56.77. The Sagehen men also enjoyed wins in the one meter dive, 200 Backstroke, 100 Breastroke, 100 Butterfly and the 200 Medley Relay.
“I think what really made the difference was the extra hustle to gain points throughout,” Baylis said. “Whenever our swimmers were in a close race, they would fight for it, and even if it only made a one point difference, that added up.”
Baylis reiterated Syme’s sentiments that the Sixth Street rivalry is incredibly different from a normal dual meet.
“The energy was amazing,” he said. “As a [first-year], there’s been a lot of build up to this meet, as most of the upperclassmen have been mentioning it since we first got to campus.”
The Sagehens indicated that the route to success is a close-knit team dynamic that makes it easy to want to work hard for each other. Baylis describes the team as a “family” and explains “there’s a really good culture of working hard and making the right choices, and that is always a good sign in terms of success.”
Both teams are closely matched on the men’s and women’s sides and the victorious parties understand that they cannot take their success for granted.
“I’m expecting Pomona-Pitzer to come away fired up for the next competition, so we will have to step up as well,” Syme said.
Similarly, Baylis affirmed, “CMS is a really strong team and they’re absolutely gonna be coming away from this meet motivated to try and beat us come SCIAC time, so we need to be ready for that.”
The Athenas and Stags look forward to a winter training camp to prepare for the SCIAC Championships and a pause from meets for the next month. The Sagehens will compete in one more meet Dec. 13 and Dec. 14 at the Lancer Invitational before winter break.