Both the men’s and women’s Pomona-Pitzer swim and dive teams defeated Occidental in hard-fought matches to solidify their status as two of the top teams in SCIAC.
The hype over the Oxy v. Pomona-Pitzer swim meet began when the Oxy Tigers women’s swim team defeated the formidable University of Redlands Bulldogs back in December, while the Sagehens defeated the Bulldogs by a similar margin over winter break.
Everyone knew it would be a close meet, but no one took the Oxy-Pomona-Pitzer rivalry too seriously until an article on the Tigers’ website titled “Women’s Swim and Dive Looking for First Win Over PP in 30 Years” began to circulate among the team members. Last year, the Pomona-Pitzer women narrowly edged out Oxy 120-117, so the Tigers hoped to end a streak that has remained since the Sagehens fell to the Tigers in 1982. The Sagehens’ reply: Not this year.
Motivated by the article and the support of the men’s team, the Sagehens extended their lead from last year to defeat Oxy 127-104. The P-P men left with a more comfortable 130-83 win.
The meet began with the women riding on the efforts of diver Avery Barron PZ ’15. The Oxy women soundly won the 400 medley relay at the beginning of the meet, with the Sagehens taking second and third. The Sagehen men’s relays started off strong, finishing first and second above the Oxy relay. The women answered in the 1000 freestyle, led by Vicky Gyorffy PO ’15 and Chrissie Alving-Trinh PO ’15 taking first and second, respectively. The men extended their lead in the 1650 freestyle thanks to J.P. Cumming PO ’13 in first, Brian Wysolmerski PO ’14 in second, and Kevin Byrne PO ’15 in third.
The 200 freestyle served as another helpful event for the PP women, as Alex Lincoln PO’14 continued to be undefeated in SCIAC this season by finishing soundly in first and Gyorffy in second, both topping the defending SCIAC champion in the event, Oxy’s Juliet Suess. The men’s 200 was closer, but Joe LaBriola PO ’12 and Andrew Savage PO ’15 edged out the Oxy swimmers to take first and second in the event. The Oxy women claimed the 50 freestyle over Lincoln and Kristin Lindbergh PO ’12. Max Scholten PO ’12 securely won the men’s 50 freestyle. The Sagehens again fell to the Tigers in the women’s 200 individual medley, as Gailyn Portelance PO ’15 and Nola Shi PO ’15 finished in second and third. In the men’s event, Tyson Chihara PO ’12 and Kevin Lu PO ’15 also took second and third.
While the P-P men’s team was comfortably ahead at this point in the meet, the women were only leading Oxy by one point. Charlotte Dohrn PO ’13 and Kelsey Atkinson PO ’14 quelled the Sagehens’ fears when they both clocked in season best times to take first and second in the 200 butterfly. Chris Wright PO ’12 soundly won the 200 butterfly for the men, with Sam Corfman PO ’13 finishing in third with a season-best time. Lincoln then won the 100 freestyle for the women, followed by Hugh Berryman PO ’15 and Savage taking first and second for the men. Julia Ticus PO ’15 and Jackie Tran PO ’15 both had season-best times in the 200 backstroke, but they took second and third behind the Oxy backstroker’s school record-breaking time. The men took gold, silver, and bronze in the 200 backstroke, led by LaBriola and followed by Gabe Leggot PZ ’14 and Tom Cleveland PO ’12. The Sagehens finished second and third in both the women’s and men’s 500 freestyle, Gyorffy and Alving-Trinh for the women and Vincent Giannotti PZ ’12 and Wysolmerski for the men.
The 200 breaststroke gave the Tigers one last glimpse of hope as the defending SCIAC champion in the event, Oxy’s Caroline Chang, finished easily over the second place finisher Sarah Tuggy PO ’13. The Oxy breaststrokers took first and second over Nathan Yale PO ’14 in the men’s 200.
The Sagehen men and women secured their victories in the 400 freestyle relay, with the women taking first and second, the men finishing in second and third.
The Oxy meet concludes the regular swim season and the swimmers count down the days until the final SCIAC Conference meet February 19-21 in South Gate, California. The women’s team will enter SCIACs second in the conference behind Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, the men third behind CMS and Redlands. The Sagehens are confident in the training and instruction that they have received from this year’s new head coach J.P. Gowdy and assistant coach Erik Peterson. For the next week, the Sagehens will enjoy less frequent and lower-intensity practices as well as gallons of post-practice chocolate milk to recuperate and prepare themselves for the final meet of the 2011-2012 season.