The drought at Pomona is finally over. The Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Swimming and Diving team (8-0 SCIAC) brought the rain as it snatched first place from the reigning Claremont-Mudd-Scripps champions. The CMS Women’s Swimming and Diving team (7-1 SCIAC) had held the title since 2003, and were holding on to a 13-year streak. However, this past weekend, the women Sagehens put that record to rest.
This was the first time since 1998 the Women's P-P Swim and Dive team took first place. Pomona-Pitzer head coach JP Gowdy, who was also named the 2015-16 Coach of the Year, said, “Going in, we knew that we had the team capable of winning.” The Sagehens certainly performed to their capability.
The P-P men’s swimming and diving team (7-0 SCIAC) had similar success as they placed second, just 42 points shy of first place team, the CMS Men's Swim and Dive team (7-0 SCIAC). “We were closer to CMS as ever,” Adrian Hui PO '19 said. Although the loss is tough, the team is not discouraged. “I didn't see any disappointed guys in our entire team … I think if anything, it will make them hungrier for next year,” Coach Gowdy said.
Both P-P’s men's and women's team have had phenomenal seasons culminating to a strong finish at the SCIAC championship in La Mirada, California. The women's team had a perfect 7-0 record heading into the championships, while the men recorded only one loss to CMS in the regular season. Both the men's and women's team finished the championship with 1,044 points. In total, the Sagehens broke an unbelievable 21 school records.
Standout swimmers included Kara Miller-Radest PZ '18, who defended her SCIAC title in the women's 200 fly and set a new program record (2:04.57). Additionally, Maddie Kauahi PO '19 was named SCIAC Newcomer of the Year, and Mark Hallman PO '18 broke the 500-yard freestyle (4:28.50). Samuel To PO '18 also broke two school records in the 200-yard IM (1:50.67), and 200-yard butterfly (1:51.61).
The Sagehens capped off the championships with a school-record breaking performance in the 400-yard freestyle relay by Hui, Hallman PO '18, Danny Villars PO '17, and Phillip Clayman PO '16 with a time of 3:02.83, and another program record with a 3:29.01 time in the 400-yard relay by Cayla Nishizaki PZ 17, Alex Seidel PO '18, Johanna Rayl PO '16, and Kauahi PO '19.
When asked about the success of the season and at the SCIAC championships, swimmer Hui and Coach Gowdy had similar comments. “We're a great team,” Coach Gowdy said.
Hui describes the team elements in a largely individualized sport of swimming: “My season went well because I had people around me to both encourage me but at the same time to push harder.”
Although cheering and encouragement may not seem to have a direct and obvious effect on swimming performances, it certainly helped both P-P men's and women's teams to achieve higher heights this season. As Coach Gowdy put it, “Everybody is a part of everybody else's success.”
“Keep the team's passion going,” Hui, who is looking forward to the next meet and the next season, said.
The Sagehens’ qualifiers will compete next at the NCAA Diving Regionals on Feb. 26 and 27 in Grinnell, Iowa.