The Pomona-Pitzer men’s and women’s swim and dive teams took their first victories of the season Oct. 27, taking down Concordia University Irvine in their home opener at Haldeman Pool. The women’s team captured a narrow victory in the meet, winning 159.5-137.5, while the men won 192-60.
It was a promising start to the 2018-19 season, in which both teams enter as defending SCIAC champions.
The Sagehen men started strong, with three of their relay teams taking first, second, and third place respectively in the opening 400-yard medley relay. Their top team in the event — comprised of Jason Lu PO ’22, Nick Lewis PO ’19, Greg Havton PZ ’21, and Lukas Ming Menkhoff PO ’21 — won the event at 3:30.50. The second team finished second at 3:35.04, while the third clocked in at 3:40.47, nearly two seconds faster than Concordia’s fastest group.
Following that momentum, the men continued to succeed throughout the meet. Nikhil Kundu PO ’21 took first place in the 50-yard backstroke at a 24.53, followed by Lu who finished second with 25.19.
Menkhoff, who won the NCAA Championship in the 100-yard breastroke last year, took first in the 50-yard breaststroke at 26.55. He was followed by Teddy Koerner PO ‘19 at 27.12.
The women’s team took first place in six events of their own. Angela Ling PO ’19 finished first in the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 27.27 followed by Allison Liu PO ’21, who finished in 29.32.
Alex Gill PO ‘22, one of the newcomers with a strong performance this weekend, finished first in 50-yard backstroke with a time of 30.52.
“Across the board, my times this weekend were very close to my personal best times, so I feel like I’m on track to do well this season,” Gill said. “As a team, we have a lot of hard work and training ahead of us.”
On the diving team, Ben Willet PZ ‘22 won the 1-meter competition with 288.20 points. Emma van der Veen PO’ 21 shone in the 3-meter dive with 244.95 points.
Despite the strong start to the season, head coach Jean-Paul Gowdy is focused on the meets ahead.
“We try not to use early season meets as a predictor,” he said. “Swimming is a very end-of-season sport. We define a lot of team success on how things go at the end of the year. I thought we did a good job of building towards the end of the year where everything comes together.”
While Gowdy cares deeply about the end of the season and ultimately having both teams repeat their conference titles, he said, for now, the teams are focused on the present.
“We are really proud of how we did last year; that took a lot of hard work and a great team,” he said. “We have the ability to do that again, but I don’t want to begin to think about whether we get to the same level. We try to focus on what’s important at this time of year, and if we do that well, I think things will come together.”