Last Sunday, Pomona-Pitzer swimmers competed in the Redlands Pentathlon and continued their preseason form with strong individual performances. Unlike most competitions, where swimmers focus on one or two individual strokes, the Pentathlon requires each participant to swim 100 meters of each stroke: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Based on their performances in these events, swimmers then compete in the 100-meter Individual Medley (IM), in which each swimmer swims 25 meters of every stroke.
“It’s kind of a fun meet because everyone’s going to swim something they’re not as good at,” Sam Corfman PO ’13 said.
Sprinters are forced into strokes outside their specialization, while long-distance swimmers must swim sprint events. Other athletes, like Corfman, swim IM regularly, which makes this competition just another day in the pool.
Although “people get pushed out of their comfort zone, you really want to go into each event and be competitive,” Corfman said. “It’s not as fun if you act like this event doesn’t matter.”
The Sagehens certainly competed, cleaning up a total of 24 top-ten finishes between both teams. 2011 All-American Max Scholten PO ’12 led the men’s team with five top-five finishes, including second place in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 53.54 seconds. In total, five male swimmers took seven top-ten spots in all five races.
The women displayed impressive depth, racking up 17 top-ten finishes among 8 swimmers. Alex Lincoln PO ’14 led her team with a first-place finish in the 100-meter freestyle, finishing in 53.98 seconds—a full second ahead of her closest competitor. Lincoln also earned three other top-ten finishes. Nola Shi PO ’15 performed well in the 100-meter IM, placing third and taking advantage of a fun Redlands Pentathlon tradition that awards a shirt to the top three finishers in the final IM race.
Looking forward to the regular season—which begins at home Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. against Whittier—Corfman expects the new batch of first-years to perform well.
“We actually have a really good freshman class,” Corfman said. “We’re all really excited to see how they do and how they add to the team. A lot of our freshmen are doing really well.”
Corfman listed Hugh Berryman PO ’15, Vicky Gyorffy PO ’15, and Nola Shi PO ’15 as three first-years to watch this season. Although Berryman managed a praiseworthy fifth-place finish in the 100-meter freestyle, the team could have performed even better—Berryman completely missed his best event, the 100-meter breaststroke. On the women’s side, Gyorffy added a third-place finish in the 100-meter freestyle to Shi’s third-place 100-meter IM finish.
After previous coach Bruce Brown’s retirement, interim coach Michael Wong spearheaded a recruiting effort that has apparently paid off this season. Now, recently hired head coach J.P. Gowdy will look to combine this young talent with a strong existing squad to challenge for the SCIAC title.
Corfman, who has swum under every coach, likes what he sees this season.
“J.P. Gowdy is positioning the team to be much more competitive, both in his mentality and in the way he’s training us,” he said.
Corfman sees the CMS match on Dec. 3 as one of the pivotal meets of the season.
“CMS and Redlands are usually the two swimming powerhouses,” he explained. “[This season we hope to] make them take notice. It will be a really interesting test.”
The Sagehens definitely sent a strong message at the Redlands Pentathlon as the women beat Redlands and the men trailed right behind. CMS did not attend the competition. The Sagehens will take on Whittier at Haldeman Pool on Friday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. to kick off their regular season. Then, on Saturday, Dec. 3, the swimmers face off against conference powerhouse and arch-rival CMS.