While many 5C students spent their morning on Saturday, Oct. 31 sleeping in or preparing for a busy Halloween night, the Pomona-Pitzer men's and women’s swimming and diving teams were focused on one thing: competing in their annual relay event at home in Haldeman Pool. Johanna Rayl PO ’16 noted the team's excitement that normally accompanies this event.
“Relays are some of the most exciting events in swimming and bring out the team element of the sport more than individual events,” she said. “The excitement of competing with a group of teammates definitely helped keep the energy high at a point of the season when we're training hard through the whole week.”
The excitement for competing translated into solid results for both teams. The men’s team finished second overall out of eight teams with 103 points, trailing only California Baptist University, who scored 141 points to win the team title. The second-place finish included a victory in the 3×100 breaststroke relay, as the Sagehens narrowly edged out Cal Baptist by 0.05 seconds. The team followed that performance with seven second-place finishes—all behind Cal Baptist swimmers.
The women’s team had similar results. Out of six teams, Cal Baptist won with 129 points, followed by the Sagehens at 105. Jenna Haufler PO ’16 was happy with the team’s effort.
“We’ve been training for around six weeks now and working really hard during practices, and it definitely showed in the water,” she said.
The highlight of the morning came when the Sagehen quartet of Rayl, Cayla Nishizaki PZ '17, Alex Seidel PO '18 and Maddie Kauahi PZ '19 set a pool record-breaking time of 1:38.67 in the 200-freestyle relay. Haufler attributes not just the record, but the overall success in the meet to the depth of the team.
“Our team is extremely deep this year, with solid swimming coming from both seasoned P-P members and the new first-year swimmers,” Haufler said. “Our 200-freestyle relay… consisted of a member of each… [and] clearly shows how strong we are from the top to the bottom of our roster.”
For her efforts in the 200-free relay and several other races, the website CollegeSwimming selected Rayl as the SCIAC Women’s Swimmer of the Week. Rayl said she believed it was her focus that led to such great success.
“At this point in the season when we're working hard all week and racing tired, it's all about finding some elements of each race to focus on,” Rayl said. “That's what I did on Saturday.”
Looking forward, both the men’s and women’s teams will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 7, against Division II school Concordia University at Haldeman Pool starting at 11 a.m.
Both Rayl and Haulfer are excited for what the season has to offer.
“Our team sets great goals in terms of how we train, how we support each other, and the energy we bring to meets every weekend, and we have high expectations in all of these areas,” Rayl said. “If we can meet our own standards, then I think some incredible final times, places and results at the end of the season will follow.”
Haulfer added, “Honestly, I think we’re going to kick ass this season.”