California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Swim & Dive Teams Win Three of Four in Final Regular Season Meet

In the final meet of the California Lutheran University swimming & diving regular season on Feb. 9, the Kingsmen and Regals combined to win three of its four matchups against Whittier College and the University of Redlands.

Both the Kingsmen and Regals cruised to victories over the hosting Whittier Poets with respective scores of 207-48 and 148-117. However, against a tougher Redlands Bulldogs program, Cal Lutheran failed to complete the sweep. The Kingsmen narrowly defeated the Bulldogs 151-142 while the Regals lost 199-97.

In the meet’s 31 individual and team events, Cal Lutheran finished in the top-three 30 times, 13 of which were first-place finishers. Junior Emily Sharpe, junior Jessica Van der Laan, sophomore McKenzie Kelly and senior Grace Sanchez all notched individual first-place wins for the Regals.

Sanchez, a Division III All-American honorable mention in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle last year, dominated last Saturday’s 50 with a first-place time of 24.78.

“I think that the 50 was actually really good because I just got back from studying abroad in Europe and I’ve only been training for a month and a half,” Sanchez said. “As for my other races, they weren’t as great, but you win some and lose some.”

Sharpe took first in the women’s 200-yard freestyle (2:03.67) and finished second in the women’s 500-yard freestyle to her fellow junior teammate Jessica Van der Laan, who led the way with a first-place time of 5:31.67.

It was a good day in the pool for Kelly, who not only finished first in the women’s 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:17.41, but also took home second in the 1650-yard freestyle. Kelly combined with Sharpe, Sanchez and first-year Brieyana Walton to finish third in the women’s 400-yard freestyle relay at 3:51.82.

Head Coach Barry Schreifels stressed the importance of the program’s captains in Saturday’s victories as both performers and leaders who inspired teammates to embrace the idea of every top finish.

“Both the men and the women had to accomplish things in races in order to win the close meets,” Schreifels said. “The captains made sure we got every point possible. They made sure the kids knew the score and the situation each event all the way to the end.”

Leading the way for the Kingsmen were sophomore Andreas Nybo and first-year Miles Gaitan.

Nybo had three individual first-place finishes in the men’s 100-yard breastroke (59.31), 100-yard butterfly (51.98) and 200-yard individual medley (1:57.01), while Gaitan racked up individual first-place finishes in the both the 100-yard backstroke (55.34) and the 200-yard backstroke – a race in which he cruised to a five-second victory.

Gaitan and Nybo also finished first as members of the first-place 200-yard medley relay team with first-year Nathan March and junior Liam McCallum.

McCallum took first place in the men’s 200-yard freestyle (1:46.34), with sophomore Nicholas Kenny finishing third (1:49.46). Later in the 50-yard freestyle, Kenny narrowly edged out McCallum for second place by two-tenths of a second.

There was similar friendly competition between sophomore Stephen Blaauw and junior teammate Ben Brewer in the 500-yard and 1650-yard freestyle races. While Blaauw bested the second-place Brewer in the 1650-yard freestyle by 26 seconds with a remarkable first-place time of 16:24.46, he placed second to the junior’s first-place 500-yard time of 4:43.39.

“Going into the 1650, I was worried swimming it because we had a hard week before the meet,” Blaauw said. “However, while swimming it I felt better and better and was able to do as well as I did. After the 1650, I knew the 500-free was going to be a good race and both Ben and I were excited to swim in it.”

With the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships just nine days away, Blaauw said that the entire team is excited by the opportunities that lie ahead of the them.

“We are all feeling like we are going to do very well,” Blaauw said. “We are all ready to do even better than last year.”

Sanchez, who has plenty of experience as a four-year member of the swim program, said that she doesn’t feel too much pressure from the upcoming championship meets.

“I feel like SCIAC is one of those competitions that if you worry too much about it, you’ll end up psyching yourself out,” Sanchez said. “I think it will be one for the books because the team is really strong this year, both men and women. We just have to make sure we are on point, taking practice seriously, staying centered and having fun.”


Jake Gould

More to Discover