Although the meet started later in the day than the Sagehens are used to, this was no setback for the Sagehens’ success. The Pomona-Pitzer men’s swim and dive team (1-0, 0-0 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference), which placed second in SCIAC last year, swept Concordia University (0-1, 0-0 PCSC) to open the season with a perfect record. The women’s team (1-0, 0-0 SCIAC), which won SCIAC last year, followed suit by beating the Eagles (0-1, 0-0 PCSC). The men’s team won 160-71, while the women won 130.5-127.5.
Pomona-Pitzer dominated the diving portion of the meet in both the Men’s and Women’s competition. Jeremy Goldberg PZ '17 won both the one-meter, with a score of 192.70, and three-meter, with a score of 208.30. Similarly, Ellen Wang PO '20 earned scores of 218.05 in the one meter and 248.25 in the three-meter to win both events.
The women’s squad won the 400-yard medley relay (4:04.13) with a lineup consisting of Angela Ling PO ’19, Erin Bigus PO ’19, Sarah Jin PO ’19, and Maddie Kauahi PZ '19, who also won both the 50-yard freestyle (24.48) and the 100-yard freestyle (53.94).
Victoria Vanderpoel PO ’18 came first in the 1000-yard freestyle (11:02.22), with Katherine Lauerman PO ’20 close on her heels to bring in second place (11:02.45).
For long-distance events like the 1000-yard freestyle, it can be a struggle to pull through to the end. However, such feats come second nature with enough practice to Vanderpoel, who is “used to swimming for extended periods of time. I like to get in an endurance zone and distract myself by singing in my head. I usually have 'Jumpman' or Coldplay in my head,” she said.
Beyond her own abilities, though, Vanderpoel knows it takes a team effort to achieve, “the awesome support and cheering of teammates getting [her] through the duration of the race.” Vanderpoel reciprocates, ” [making] sure there is always someone cheering behind all PPSD lanes.”
On the men’s side, Will Abele PO ’20 dominated in the 1000-yard freestyle (10:05.36) as well as the 200-yard fly (1:58:55).
Led by All-American Daniel To PO ’17, the Sagehens also finished first in the 400-yard medley relay (3:34.36).
Adrian Hui PO ’19 placed second in both the 50-yard freestyle (21.37) and the 100-yard free (48.06).
To finished first in the 200 yard IM (2:01.75), while Erik Garcia PO ’19 came in a close second (2:02.02). To followed this performance up with a victory in the 200-yard backstroke (1:59.61).
The event was highly successful for both the Men’s and Women’s swim and dive teams, which are hoping to repeat or surpass their great achievements last year. The Sagehen women placed first at the SCIAC Championships last year, while the men placed second in their group. Both teams finished in the top 30 last season at the NCAA Division III Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.
While the sport of competitive swimming might seem more focused on individual athletes to viewers, the team has a surprisingly strong sense of community, Jeffrey Tran PZ ’19–who finished second in the 200-yard breast stroke (2:19.67)–attesting that “We always practice with our teammates. When we’re [in a meet], not only are we united as a team, but we’re also united together against our competition,” she said.
“While practicing with your teammates,” he said, “you’re not practicing against [your teammates], but with them.”
“It's always friendly competition between my teammates and me,” Vanderpoel said in regards to her teammates. “I am so thankful for them because we pace each other. Otherwise, I would get too bored and lonely in the long-distance races. My pace buddy this year has been Kat Lauerman and the rest of the D-crew.”
This bond amongst the swim and dive team goes beyond the pool, permeating into the daily lives of the teammates, Tran finding that “our team’s unity is what makes us stand out against other nearby colleges. It’s an experience that [we’ll] definitely be glad we had while in college.”
The Swim and Dive teams will travel to take on the California Baptist University Lancers on Nov. 5, following the annual Pomona-Pitzer Relays. Their first SCIAC challenge will be an away meet against Whittier College on Nov. 12.