UR swimming and diving traveled to Emory University this past weekend to compete in the University Athletic Association Championships. Both the men’s and women’s teams had a great deal of success.
Many new school records were achieved this weekend, showing just how well everyone swam. Freshman Bruce Maki broke a 20-year-old school record in the 1,650-yard freestyle by almost six seconds. Junior Michele Gruen smashed the record in the 500-yard freestyle and junior Kari Joyce set school records in the 200-yard freestyle and the 200-yard backstroke.
“I was very happy with the men’s and women’s team performance,” head coach Danielle Herring said. “All of the team performed very well and I could not [have] asked for a better weekend.”
Men’s Swimming and Diving
The men finished seventh overall in the competition. With four men finishing in the top nine, the team deserves accolades for their hard work this season.
“We are behind each other in every event,” senior Ted Elton said. “When other schools go up against us in a race they aren’t faced with just the Yellowjacket in the lane next to them, they are faced with all 50 of us cheering and shouting on deck and that made a huge difference.”
Always a strong competitor, Elton blew most of the competition away. He placed fourth on the three-meter board and third on the one-meter board. Freshman David Mische also had a good day, taking eighth on the one-meter board.
Junior Craig Matt and Maki swam well in their respective events over the weekend. Matt swam his way into seventh in the 200-yard butterfly and Maki was ninth in the 1650-yard free.
Maki was also on the 400-yard freestyle relay B team, along with senior Sam Schrauth, junior Anthony Furstoss and freshman Ryan White. The relay finished 16th overall. Unfortunately, the A relay team was disqualified.
This meet represents the end of a great career for several of UR’s athletes. After the meet, Elton reflected the sentiments of many swimmers.
“Leaving the team is always bittersweet for the seniors, as well as the underclassmen,” Elton said.
Personally, Elton will miss swimming but feels grateful for all of his experiences on the team.
“The fact that I have evolved from an inexperienced, bumbling freshman to a successful diver and team captain still amazes me,” Elton said.
Women’s Swimming and Diving
The women’s swimming and diving teams faced extremely strong competition over the weekend, finishing fifth overall in the tough competition.
“I knew from the beginning that both our teams were strong and could improve their performances from last year,” Herring said. “The veterans continued to be major point contributors and the freshman also stepped up and competed very well.”
The 400-yard free relay captured an amazing fourth place finish, an incredible feat considering all of the competition they were up against. The team consisted of Gruen, Joyce, senior Kathryn Monti and junior Karen Gromer.
Joyce also placed in the 100-yard free, with Monti coming in behind her with a powerful 16th place finish.
“You just do what you need to do and usually it comes together like it should,” Joyce said.
Another top eight finisher was sophomore Danielle Scherry. Scherry showed a great effort, taking eighth in the 1,650-yard free. Her time of 17:51.03 gave her a new school record in the event and she crushed the old record by almost five seconds.
Following their teammate in this long event, Gruen swam into a close ninth and freshman Megan Miller was 15th.
Gruen was also successful in the 200-yard butterfly, in which she earned a very respectable ninth place finish. Miller swam in the event as well and finished in 16th place.
The 200-yard backstroke also displayed UR’s talent. Freshman Megan Savoury placed 14th in the swim and junior Mary Carol Karl came in right behind her in 16th place.
Of the prospects for the national championships, Herring has faith in senior Patricia McHale.
“McHale has met two NCAA provisional qualifying standards on the one-meter board,” Herring said. “In two weeks we will know if she gets invited to compete at this year’s NCAA Championships. She holds the school record in this event and is a very talented diver.”
Myers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.