The Pomona-Pitzer swimming and diving team swam for gold at the SCIAC Championship Feb. 19 to Feb. 22, breaking a number of team records in the final meet of the 2014-2015 season.
First-year swimmers conquered team records and SCIAC events alongside the
team’s upperclassmen. The classes’ support for one another served as a proper sendoff for
PPSD’s graduating seniors and pointed to an increasingly narrow gap between
PPSD and the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps swimming and diving team.
The first morning of the four-day challenge saw three broken relay
records and an SCIAC gold for the PPSD women. Both teams swept away school
records in the 200-yard medley relay and saw incredible performances in the
800-yard freestyle relay. The women’s relay was led by Vicky Gyorffy PO ’15, who placed first by an outstanding four-second lead. The men’s relay team, anchored by
Mark Hallman PO ’18, broke a record held since 1988.
“[Our time] broke a
longstanding record on the team,” Hallman said. “Everybody was very happy. I know
Kevin [Byrne PO ’15] really wanted that record, and as [he’s] a senior, it was nice to be a
part of getting it for him.”
Three more PPSD men’s records were demolished in the meet’s
second day alongside remarkable showings in the men’s and women’s 500-yard
freestyle. The men’s 200-yard freestyle relay displaced their record, and
Samuel To PO ’18 broke the men’s 200-yard individual medley record, placing
Kelsey Thomas PO ’18 won the women’s 500-yard freestyle with a time hundredths of a second short of a PPSD
record. However, the fiercest event of the meet’s second day was the
men’s 500-yard freestyle, which resulted in not only a broken PPSD record for Hallman, but
an SCIAC record for Cameron Whiting CM ’15. Hallman attributed such success to his amicable rivalry with Whiting.
“Cameron was the one who touched me out at the dual meet for
the 200 [freestyle],” said Hallman, with reference to the CMS vs. P-P dual
meet Feb. 7. “I knew the CMS kids [and knew] it was going to be a really good race
with them. Cameron got me in the 500, and I got him in the 200, so it’s nice to
have those kinds of races at a high-level meet.”
Hallman conquered the men’s 200-yard freestyle on the third day of competition, which set one of that day’s three PPSD
records, which included the men’s 400-yard medley relay (also anchored by
Hallman) and Maki Tohmon’s PO ’17 100-yard butterfly. The day also saw a victory in the women’s 400-yard IM by Victoria Vanderpoel PO ’18 and a win by Gyorffy in
the 200-yard freestyle.
The fourth and final day of the competition yielded four
gold medals and seven PPSD records. Gyorffy finished her collegiate swimming
career with a win in the 100-yard freestyle. PPSD first-year talent was on display as well, with another win by Hallman in the 100-yard freestyle. Likewise, Thomas and Kara Miller-Radest PZ ’18 had PPSD record-breaking wins in the 1650-yard freestyle and the 200-yard butterfly, respectively.
Tohmon and Kyle Dalrymple PZ ’17 both broke PPSD
records in the men’s and women’s 200-yard breaststroke. The day’s final event, the men’s 400-yard freestyle relay, saw another
broken record as PPSD placed second behind CMS.
PPSD’s four-day effort yielded a shockingly narrow score
against CMS swimming, with PPSD’s women placing only 68 points behind CMS and
the men falling 324.5 points short. Although they didn’t come out with the win, the Sagehens were more than happy with the close results.
“It went great,” head coach J.P. Gowdy said. “We came up
just a bit short on the women’s side, which is disappointing, but we did as well
as I could imagine us swimming.”
The swimmers shared similar sentiments.
“They beat us by 300 points, which is honestly way closer
than we’ve been in years,” Hallman said. “If you look at the scores from last year,
we were 600 points down. [This is] probably the best SCIAC Pomona-Pitzer’s had
in 50 years.”
The SCIAC meet’s impressive outcome was a perfect ending for
PPSD’s class of 2015 and suggested a promising future for the returning athletes.
“After the meet we got in a big circle and all cried, and the
seniors told their ‘ah, it’s ending’ [stories] and were all nostalgic,” Hallman
said. “We have a very young team, and we’re hopeful that my class and the class
above me will get us a championship in a couple years, so watch out, CMS.”