Swimming dominates home meet in preparation for postseason

Tori Foster, Sports Editor

The men’s and women’s swim teams capped off their regular seasons at home against North Central and Davenport amid senior night celebrations. The men’s team defeated North Central 72-10 in a dual meet while the women’s team competed in a triangular meet, blowing out the competition by placing first in nine out of the 11 events on Saturday, Jan. 26. 

The meet opened with both teams earning top spots in the 200-yard medley. The men clocked in at a time of 1:43.31 while junior Ebony McCray and seniors Meghan Beese, Gabby Jeffers and Hannah Zuercher won the women’s event with a time of 1:46.19. The event sparked a record-breaking streak for McCray as she set a pool record in the butterfly, swimming the third leg of the 200-medley relay in 25.59 seconds. The record was one of four pool records she broke throughout the meet including the 100 fly, 50 fly and 200 free-relay alongside Beese, Jeffers and sophomore Daniela Navarrete.

On the men’s team, seniors Colin Williams and Helio Meggito Pereira set an example by taking first in their respective events. Williams won the 100 fly while Pereira claimed first in both the 100 freestyle and breaststroke races. However, the team had representation from all the classes at the meet. The 200-medley team was made up of senior Sumner Latta, junior Brandon Bouy, sophomore Brock Starr and freshman Carter Thoss. Junior Jeremy Burbrink took the top spot in the 500-yard freestyle and Junior Guillaume Bolivard took first in the 100 backstroke while earning a provisional qualifying mark to compete in the Division II Swimming and Diving Championships in March. Freshmen Rhys Taylor won the 200 individual medley and Michael Roach, Jackson Mugg and Yurii Kharko took first in the 1000, 200 and 50 freestyle races, respectively.

The women’s team was led by Jeffers who took first in the 100 backstroke, junior Ianthe Van Den Westhuizen who led the 200 individual medley and sophomores Victoria Rodriguez, Stephanie Palczynski and Navarrete, who won the 1000, 200 and 100 freestyle races.

According to the upperclassmen, the team’s performance shows how their hard work throughout the year is going to pay off come postseason, and they’re looking forward to seeing how the team comes together to push each other. “I think the team started to realize that we do our best when we have the support of everyone around us, and that’s the moment when we became not only close as a team, but as a family,” said Jeffers. “Our coach once told us, ‘you perform your best when you are being supported by your teammates,’ and I believe that’s the kind of atmosphere the GLVC championship has to offer.”

McCray also noted how the program has evolved under the senior leadership and believes their impact will be evident in postseason times. “Some of the current seniors have really helped keep the team motivated and have made an effort to keep a positive atmosphere,” said McCray. “There is a noticeable difference between this year and last year and it even shows in our performance as a team.”

Both teams will be tapering while gearing up to compete in the GLVC Swimming and Diving Championships in Crawfordsville, Ind., on Wednesday, Feb. 6.