Bacon-Brenes’ Two Pool Records Lead CMS Swim And Dive Past Loyola Marymount

Madison Blumer SC ’19 prepares to dive into the water at the start of the 50-yard freestyle at the Athenas’ swim meet against Loyola Marymount University on Jan. 27. (Chloe Ortiz • The Student Life)

The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s swim and dive team showed confidence and strength in a 189-73 win over Division I opponent Loyola Marymount University at a dual meet Saturday. The Athenas won 12 of the 14 contests, and Claire Bacon-Brenes SC ’20 shattered two Axelrood pool records.

Bacon-Brenes broke her own pool record of 1:05.21 in the 100-yard breaststroke, finishing in 1:04.85 Saturday. She also grabbed the pool record in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:21.91, topping the previous time of 2:22.61, a 10-year-old mark held by former NCAA national champion Annie Perizzolo.

Even after rewriting the record books, Bacon-Brenes admitted that claiming Perizzolo’s record was not the best part of her day.

“I was maybe more excited that [Perizzolo] followed me on Instagram,” Bacon-Brenes said. “I want to meet her sometime.”

Unlike most meets, Saturday was a women-only competition. Even though the Stags didn’t race, most of the men’s swim team attended to support the women. The men showed their team spirit by painting ‘Go Athenas’ in CMS colors on their chests.

“It was really empowering to just have the Athenas swimming, but also have so much support from the Stags,” Bacon-Brenes said.

Other Athenas stood out Saturday: Mia Syme CM ’21 picked up two wins, in the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyle, Natalia Orbach-Mandel HM ’21 claimed the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, and CMS scored one-two-three sweeps in the 100-yard backstroke, 100- and 200-yard butterfly, and the 200-yard individual medley.

“It’s exciting to see so many Athenas post season-best times versus LMU on Saturday,” head coach Charles Griffiths said. “We’re going in the right direction, and the best is still yet to come.”

After a rocky start to the season and a loss to lower-ranked Pomona-Pitzer, the Athenas have continued to improve and show promise ahead of the SCIAC championships.

Griffiths emphasized the importance of the winter training camp in the forward momentum of the season.

“We put in a lot of good work [in camp] and had fun, enjoying the simplicity of Claremont without classes,” he said.

As the work of training camp begins to pay off, the Athenas are “excited to sharpen our racing skills and get ready for the conference meet,” Griffiths added.

Star swimmers like Bacon-Brenes are looking forward to the SCIAC championship and postseason meets; Bacon-Brenes said her biggest goal is for the Athenas to repeat as conference champions.

Griffiths is also looking to continue to build on the momentum of the LMU meet.

“We’re looking forward [to] peak performances at the SCIAC and NCAA meets,” he said. “If we’re able to bring our ‘A’ game for each swim and every dive over the four-day competitions, the places and scores will show it.”

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