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 sets records at SCIAC Championships

The California Lutheran University’s men and women’s swimming and diving team competed in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship in Commerce, California at the Brenda Villa Aquatics Center.

On Feb. 21-24, 23 male athletes and 16 female athletes traveled to the competition which included teams from nine different schools from Southern California.

First-year Head Coach Barry Schreifels, began this season with the goal of helping his players find their “internal motivation,” he said in September of last year.

On the first day, Cal Lutheran opened strong, breaking the 200-medley relay record that had been held for the past nine years. First-years Avery Conrad and Brieyana Walton, junior Brianna Baldwin and senior Grace Sanchez claimed a time of 1:50.17, landing them in sixth place in the meet.

“That was the first night we were there, and it was all super exciting and nerve-racking because this was the night that was going to set the tone for the rest of the weekend,” Walton said.

On the men’s side, first-years Miles Gaitan and Nathan March and sophomores Andreas Nybo and Nick Kenny took seventh place in the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:34.94.

On the second day, two relay teams and three more individuals qualified for the finals, ending the day with 142 points and taking seventh place. Senior Grace Sanchez was a top qualifier that morning for the 50-yard freestyle, nearly beating her previous school record. She ended up finishing fourth place in her event. Her 200-yard freestyle relay team also qualified for finals, taking seventh place in their event.

“Every day is its own battle. You have to get up really early and swim at your finest and best ability and, if you’re lucky enough, you get a second swim,” Sanchez said.

On day three of the championship, two new records were set for the program by sophomore Abby Hiller and Walton. Cal Lutheran ended the day still in seventh place with 210 points.

Sanchez rose in the ranks on the third day, coming out as a top qualifier in the preliminaries in the 50-free, later securing herself fourth place in the finals later that day.

Walton and sophomore Abby Hiller set two new records for the team on Saturday night. Walton’s career-best performance in the 100-breaststroke which landed her in 11th place at 1:06.94. Hiller also set the new record of 285.45 in the three-meter dive.

Junior Emily Glass also made it to the finals for the 100-breaststroke coming in just behind Walton in 12th place.

Swimming is not just a sport that you play, Sanchez said. It’s an all-encompassing sport that you have to train really hard for. Sanchez had only six weeks to train for this championship after being in Europe and came back with force, ready to compete with her team.

After the four-day championship, the team secured a seventh place spot, with a total of 267 points.

“You can always have a bad race and it’s hard to get out of your head, but it wasn’t something that was done alone. People who didn’t have the best swim were so fortunate to have the best people around them,” Sanchez said.

Glass said the four-day meet took a toll on the team, and it took perserverance for them to continue

“The last day, last few days as it came down to that, everyone was tired. We had been swimming for three days at that point,” Glass said.

But the important thing was that the swimming and diving team showed up to swim for each other, Glass said.

“I think everyone on the team really came through for each other. Nobody swam alone,” Glass said.

The qualifiers for the NCAA swimming and diving National Championships will be posted within the next couple of days. Nationals will take place on March 20-23 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Britta Olsen
Reporter

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