For the Pomona-Pitzer women’s swim team, the SCIAC championships were not only the culmination of a season of hard work but an opportunity for a little bit of revenge. Since the disappointing 128-99 loss to Cal Lutheran on Jan. 9, the team has been waiting for their chance to beat the Regals and regain third place in the conference. Over the three-day event earlier this week, the Sagehens did just that, thrashing Cal Lutheran by over 80 points and clinching a tie for third place in the overall conference standings.
The Sagehens found success thanks to their incredible team depth. Fifteen out of the 24 swimmers listed on the team roster contributed points to the team’s SCIAC efforts. This depth proved to be crucial, as Cal Lutheran gained an advantage over Pomona-Pitzer on most relays, only to be fended off by the sheer number of swimmers the Sagehens put in the top sixteen scoring positions.
Charlotte Dohrn PO ‘13 and Kristen Lindbergh PO ‘12 were key point scorers for the Sagehens, both on relays and in individual events.
After an 11th place finish in the 50 free on Sunday, Dohrn grabbed fifth place in the 100 butterfly the next day with a 58.58. Her swim was faster than the B cut standard, or provisional national qualifying time, in the event. This means that she will continue to train for the next few weeks while she waits to hear if her time is fast enough to make it to nationals. She followed up this stellar performance with a 2:09.34 in the 200 butterfly the next day. While she did not meet her pre-race goal of “making that girl from Redlands [event champion Lauren Zehner] cry”, she did finish third in the event, giving her All-SCIAC honors.
Lindbergh turned in a solid meet, finishing sixth, fifth, and third in the 50, 100, and 200 freestyle races, respectively. She also garnered a spot on the All-SCIAC team with her 200 freestyle swim.
Both Lindbergh and Dohrn swam in four out of the five relays—the maximum number allowed in a championship meet format. As a team, the Sagehens swam season best times on the first four relays but just lost the third place position to Cal Lutheran in each race.
However, on the final day, the Sagehens finally burst through to gain a spot on the podium. The ensemble of Dohrn, Kristen Boysen PO ‘10, Naomi Laporte PO ‘11, and Lindbergh swam to a time of 3:36.02 to out-touch Cal Lutheran for third place—and, in the process, broke a 19-year old team record by .03 seconds.
Boysen finished her swimming career at Pomona-Pitzer with a bang. On Monday, she cracked the elusive one-minute barrier in the 100 backstroke for the first time with a swim of 59.69 in prelims. She followed that with another sub-one-minute swim in the finals to place seventh in the event. On the last day of the meet, she placed sixth in the 100 freestyle with another personal best time of 53.90—all this while swimming four relays as well over the course of the meet. Her contributions, along with those of graduating seniors Kimi Ide-Foster PI ’10, Katie Tonkovich PI ’10, and Naneh Apkarian PO ’10, will be sorely missed next year.
After a disappointing prelim swim in the 100 backstroke, Ide-Foster turned on the jets to win the consolation finals in a time of 1:00.36. The next day, swimming an event in the 200 backstroke that could be described nicely as “not her favorite,” she moved up four places from her original seeding to place fifth with a time of 2:12.30. Also scoring in the 200 backstroke was Tonkovich, who swam a 2:18.92, good for 12th place finish. Apkarian surprised everyone with her performance in the 100 butterfly. After not swimming the event all season, she won the first heat in prelims to sneak into the consolation finals, where she landed in 15th place with a time of 1:03.83.
Five other Sagehens placed in the top eight in one or more of their events at the meet. Lizzie Aby PO ‘11 turned in some clutch performances in the individual medley (IM) and distance races, placing seventh in the 200 IM, sixth in the 400 IM, and seventh in the 1650 freestyle.
Hannah Miller PI ‘13 may have been the revelation of the meet, as she dropped time in every event in finishing sixth in the 500 freestyle, fifth in the 200 freestyle, and fourth in the 1650 freestyle. Dana Kingman PO ‘11 swam impressive races in the 400 IM and the 1650 free, placing eighth and sixth, respectively. Julia Ticus PO ‘13 made her first ever SCIAC championship final in the 200 back, where she touched in seventh place.
Laporte, the reigning two-time SCIAC champion in the 200 butterfly, came down with a sickness early in the meet—an unwelcome hardship to add to the shoulder injury that has plagued her all year. Due to her illness, she scratched both butterfly events and decided to focus on the 200 IM and 100 freestyle. She placed eighth in the IM on Sunday and swam a key leg on the All-SCIAC 400 freestyle relay to close out the meet.
The outlook is bright for the Sagehens for next year, as seven swimmers who swam in a championship final return to the team. After this grueling three-day meet, though, these swimmers are not thinking about next year, but rather the infamous SCIAC party, to take place this Saturday.