Last Saturday, Feb. 1, the men’s and women’s Pomona-Pitzer swimming teams swept both Whittier College and University of La Verne in a tri-meet, leaving both P-P teams undefeated with a 7-0 record in SCIAC competition. With the victories, both teams head into their final conference meet of the season this Saturday, Feb. 8 against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps with a lot on the line. The excitement heading into next week’s Senior Day meet against CMS is tangible, and the swimmers are looking forward to some close competition.
Coming off an exciting victory over University of Redlands, who the men’s team hadn’t beaten in 15 years, the Sagehens went into the tri-meet with a confident mentality. According to Kevin Byrne PO ‘15, the team even “planned on using [the meet] as a sort of warm up for CMS.”
During the meet, the Sagehens focused on keeping their rhythm and putting out solid times. Daniel To PO ’17 came out strong, winning two backstroke events for P-P: the 100 yard in a cool 54.21 seconds and the 200 in a solid 2:00.04. Pomona-Pitzer also fared well in the distance events, as Tommy Turner PO ’17 beat out Whittier’s Kurt Holzmuller in the 1650 by just one second, posting a time of 17:10.26. The team also showed up strong for the 500 freestyle as Austin Abrams PO ’16, Turner, and Devon Kennedy PO ’16 swept the race in an impressive 1-2-3. The final score for the Pomona-Pitzer men was a 197-93 Whittier defeat and a 185-101 La Verne defeat.
The women headed into the meet focused on pulling off the win and looking ahead to CMS.
Hannah Robertson PO ’15 explains, “we knew that [Whittier and La Verne] had some good swimmers, but we knew as a whole team that we were a step above. So we knew what we had to do, and do well.”
The Sagehens came out on top, soundly defeating La Verne 208-75 and Whitter 179-116. Alex Lincoln PO ’14 led a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 yard freestyle, followed closely by Vicky Gyorffy PO ’15 and Johanna Rayl PO ’16. Lincoln, who won the team MVP award last year, also won her second event, the 50 yard freestyle, posting a speedy time of 24.95 seconds. Not to be outdone, Ellena Basada PO ’16 also led a P-P 1-2-3 finish in the 400 IM, coming in at 4:14.32, trailed by Maddie Larkin PO ’17, and Kyra Sanborn PO ’17.
Although the team had some solid swims, head coach Jean-Paul Gowdy says there were a few tired swims that could have gone better, showing that the Sagehens still have room for improvement in their quest for end-of-season success. Gowdy explained that last weekend was a “good meet for us to learn a little bit about ourselves when things aren’t going perfectly.” The Sagehens still picked up a solid win, leaving the men at a 10-1 overall record and the women at 10-2.
With SCIAC Championships just around the corner, the name of the game is gearing up for the fastest times of the season. This week, the team wrapped up its heavy conditioning and began the tapering portion of its training program, a three-week gradual decrease in intensity designed to help swimmers maximize energy and put up their best times of the season. Excitement levels are high for swimmers as practices become easier and swimmers anticipate the final two meets of the season.
Taper comes at an opportune time, and according to Coach Gowdy, “It will be neat to be almost halfway through taper when we’re racing CMS. We’ll be more rested and we should see some nice swims.”
Looking ahead to the weekend, emotions will certainly be running high. The women pose tough competition for the rival CMS Athenas, and Coach Gowdy predicts that “it’s going to be a battle.” In addition to the promise of close races, this will be the last home meet for the senior Sagehens as they head off to graduation in May. Adrenaline will be pumping and sentimentality will be guaranteed as CMS crosses Sixth Street for an action-packed day of swimming. Races begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Pendleton Pool.