PREVIEW: P-P and CMS swim and dive kick off season

A male athlete with an orange camp swims.
Walter Lee PZ ’23 breaks the surface of the water for a quick breath of air during the swim and dive meet hosted by P-P on Nov. 8. (Anna Horne • The Student Life)

P-P men’s swim and dive

The Pomona-Pitzer men’s swim and dive team is looking to secure its third straight SCIAC championship this year, as they enter the winter season ranked No. 1 in a preseason poll of the conference’s head coaches. 

Beyond the team’s success in the SCIAC last season — they were 8-0 in dual meets — nine Sagehens continued on to compete at the NCAA championships. As a team, the men finished 11th overall with several All-Americans. 

The team returns Lukas Menkhoff PO ’21, who was the national runner-up in the men’s 100-yard breaststroke, as well as two other members of his 4×100-yard freestyle relay team — Will Abele PO ’20 and Archie Spindler PO ’22 — who finished eighth. Paddy Baylis PO ’22 is back for year two after placing fourth in the country in the 1,650-yard freestyle.

Menkhoff already holds a number of P-P school records, including the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 50-yard breaststroke, 100-yard breaststroke and 100-yard individual medley.

Abele said the Sagehens have big goals once again.

We hope to send our largest group yet to NCAAs to hopefully place in the finals for All-American status,” Abele said via email.

Nick Borowsky PO ’20 anticipates a strong year from the first-year class of swimmers.

“Honestly, all the freshmen are studs,” Borowsky said. They’ve been “swimming really well the first couple meets this year.”

In their most recent meet this season Nov. 9, the Sagehens defeated both Cal Lutheran and La Verne.

“Two of our divers, Ben Willett [PZ ’22] and Jem Stern [PO ’22], qualified for NCAA regionals this weekend, which is super impressive for this early in the season,” Abele said. To qualify, Willett and Stern had to score above 275 on the 3-yard dive, and they scored 285.10 and 300, respectively.  

The reigning SCIAC champs only lost two team members of their national traveling team to graduation, swimmers Ryan Drover PZ ’19 and Jack Swanson PO ’19. The team also added nine first-years.

A recent poll by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America ranks the P-P men’s team No. 10 in Division III.

P-P women’s swim and dive

The P-P women’s swim and dive team is also vying to defend its SCIAC title this year. This year’s team was voted No. 1 in the SCIAC preseason poll after its impressive season last year, when the Hens won the conference for the second year in a row and for a third time in the last four years. 

Last year, its dual-meet record was 7-1. 

Katherine Lauerman PO ’20 said she wants the team “performing at our best at all of our meets, including our competitive dual meet against CMS in December, SCIACs and NCAAs.”

At the NCAA Championship last season, the team finished in seventh place with several All-American performances, including Alex Werner PO ’22, who placed eighth in the 200-yard breaststroke.

But the hard work doesn’t stop there. 

This season, “we’ve been putting in a lot of hard work in the pool, both swimming and diving,” Lauerman said. “We have also been working to strengthen the team as a whole.”

The Sagehens graduated four swimmers last year — Angela Ling PO ’19, Maddie Kauahi PO ’19, Sarah Jin PO ’19 and Mackenzie Cummings PO ’19 — but gained nine first-years. 

Lauerman is looking forward to seeing the new first-years compete.

“I’m also really excited to watch our newer divers, Winnie Xu [PO ’23], [Alexandria Long PO ’22] and Eleanor [Mackey PO ’22], perform well,” she said. “I think that everyone on the team has really awesome potential this year.”

The Sagehens are ranked No. 13 in the CSCAA poll.

Multiple swimmers dive off platforms into a pool.
Swimmers from CMS, Chapman, and Cal Lutheran dive off the platform to start their race Nov. 16. (HuxleyAnn Huefner • The Student Life)

CMS men’s swim and dive

The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s swim and dive team is looking to break P-P’s SCIAC winning streak, after finishing second at last year’s championship. The team was voted second in this year’s preseason poll, after finishing last year with a dual-meet record of 7-1. 

At last season’s NCAA Championship, diver Kendall Hollimon CM ’20 and swimmer Marco Conati HM ’21 represented the Stags.

Hollimon finished in third place for the 3-yard dive, earning first-team All-American honors for the third year in a row. He also received an honorable mention All-American honor in the 1-yard dive. Conati placed fourth in the 100-yard butterfly, and their combined efforts saw the Stags finish in 22nd place.

Hollimon is looking for more hardware and wins for the team this year.

The team is hoping to inspire peak athletic performance in its athletes,” he said. “The theme this year is ‘earn it,’ and with every win, that’s exactly what we hope to do.”

He’s also excited about both the new talent and the coaching staff this year — Ivan Bondarenko is the new head dive coach.

Bondarenko “has helped foster team environment that is equal parts fun and focused, and the team is as close as ever,” Hollimon said. “If we keep working this hard, we’ll be in good shape for SCIACs.” 

The Stags are ranked slightly behind the P-P men at No. 13.

A female diver dives into the pool.
Makenna Parkinson HM ’23 dives into the water during the meet against Chapman and Cal Lutheran on Nov. 16. (HuxleyAnn Huefner • The Student Life)

CMS women’s swim and dive

The Athenas finished second in last year’s SCIAC championship, right behind the P-P women’s team, with a dual-meet record of 8-0. The team was voted second in this season’s SCIAC preseason poll.

At last season’s NCAA Championship, the Athenas finished 22nd out of 50 teams. CMS was led by Mia Syme CM ’21, who placed 13th in the 1,650-yard freestyle, and Augusta Lewis CM ’22, who was 18th in the 200-yard breaststroke after earning honorable mention All-American in the 200-yard individual medley and 400-yard individual medley.

Sophomore star Lewis earned both the SCIAC Swimmer of the Year and the SCIAC Newcomer of the Year awards last year after setting a number of conference and program records throughout the season. In the 200-yard individual medley, she shattered a mark that hadn’t been challenged since 2012.

Anne Jang CM ’21 hopes the Athenas will build off last year’s success and win the SCIAC title. 

“We [will] continue to observe the importance of hard work and dedication in seeing results at the end of the season,” she said. “More than ever, we aim to be the best and continue to foster and encourage the development of a well-rounded community of student athletes.”

The Athenas will head into this season returning eight of the 11 swimmers who competed at last season’s national championship, including three — Lewis, Syme and Ava Sealander SC ’22 — who qualified in individual events.

“We’re excited to see things from first years Ella Blake [HM ’23] and Anderson Breazeale [CM ’23], as well as sophomore Augusta Lewis [CM ’22], junior Marco Conati [HM ’21], as well as senior diver Kendall Hollimon [CM ’20],” Jang said. “Overall, we have recruited a class with amazing potential and are bringing back a team that is ready and willing to work.”

In the CSCAA poll, the Athenas are ranked No. 11.

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