Sagehens take home seven event titles, finish second to CMS in SCIAC Swim and Dive Championships

Sagehen fans and teammates support their Swim and Dive team at the 2023 SCIAC championships hosted by East LA College (Courtesy: Annika Solomansson)

A SCIAC title was up for grabs last week for Pomona-Pitzer (P-P) Swim and Dive. With the women’s team looking to defend their title and the men’s team hoping to shock cross-street rivals Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS), the Sagehens fought hard in one of their final meets of the season.

After an intense weekend, P-P ultimately fell to Sixth Street Rivals CMS, with both men’s and women’s teams claiming second place to the Stags and Athenas at the SCIAC Championships. Despite not getting the result they hoped for, the Sagehens had many successes ahead of the upcoming NCAA Regional and Championship meets. 

Larry Yu PO ’24 and Alexandra Turvey PO ’24 took home SCIAC Swimmer of the Year honors, and Benji Willett PZ ’23 won SCIAC Diver of the Year. According to Yu, the team has nothing to be ashamed of.

“A loss is tough, but at the end of the day, I’m proud of this team,” Yu said. 

The Sagehens set an intense tone early on the first day of the meet, with multiple relay teams breaking program and conference records. On the men’s side, the 800 freestyle relay team of Tag Curwen PO ’24, Anzo Degiulio PO ’25, Adrian Clement PO ’26 and Yu took first place in the event with a SCIAC meet record of 6:37.13. The women’s 800 freestyle team of Emmie Appl PO ’25, Naomi Locala PO ’25, Sabrina Wang PO ’26 and Turvey took second place with a time of 7:29.40 but broke a SCIAC record in the process. 

According to Willet and Alex Gill PO ’23, the Hens worked hard this season to create a team-first culture, breaking down the stigma of swim and dive being an individualistic sport. 

“We pride ourselves in our deck presence and how we get behind each other for every event … Even though you might be the only one swimming or diving in an event, [you] are constantly seeing your teammates and reminded that you’re a part of a team,” Willet said.

Gill added that P-P has a reputation for team spirit and said that their encouraging, fun-loving culture helps their team’s energy.

“The Sagehens are definitely known for having some of the best team presence on the pool deck and are constantly cheering each other on, getting behind the lanes and alongside the diving boards,” Gill said.

Records continued to be broken on days two and three of swimming, with Turvey taking first in the 50 freestyle with a SCIAC record time of 22.93 seconds. The following day, Turvey broke her own SCIAC record in the 100 butterfly. She swam a time of 53.96 seconds, once again winning the event. More relay records were broken in the 400 medley, with the team of Emily Brooks PO ’23, Katie Gould PO ’24, Gill and Turvey taking first with a time of 3:34.07.

Though impressive, Turvey’s success last weekend was a continuation of her season thus far, for which she credits her teammates tremendously. 

“It really is just the team that has got me through the season,” Turvey said. “I think that I pretty much look forward to going into practice every day because I’m going to be training alongside all my friends … I think that does lead to these positive results.”

Yu also continued a historic season with dominance in his races in the SCIAC Championships. In addition to his SCIAC record-breaking 800 freestyle relay time, Yu took home gold in the 500 freestyle, 400 individual medley and the 200 breaststroke. 

Yu said his success this season was no accident, and he has worked hard for this. 

“It’s really hard to have that motivation to keep going to do that training because you’re not going to see that payoff really until the end of the year…[but] sticking through with the program is probably one of the keys to success there,” Yu said.

In his final SCIAC Championships meet, Willett did not hold back, making podium appearances in both the one meter and three meter dive. Willett said his teammates were a key contributor to his accomplishments this year. 

“Something that really got me through this season… was being very candid about my mental health,” Willett said. “It makes it so much easier to get through it knowing that you have your teammates who are supporting you and understand all of that.”

Despite a frustrating second place finish for the Sagehens, both teams remain focused ahead on the NCAA Regional and National Championships in the coming weeks, using their disappointment as motivation for the meets ahead.

For Yu, the next few weeks are devoted to honing in on his best race and focusing entirely on the NCAA meets. 

“These next few weeks [are] an opportunity to really … specialize in [your events] … I’m probably going to focus a lot more on 400 IM race strategy,” Yu said.

The Hens have turned their attention entirely to the NCAA championships, and although disappointed with their overall placement, they are using their frustrations to propel them forward as they close this season and beyond.

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