The women’s swimming and diving team spent the weekend in Cleveland to do battle with the powerhouses of the University Athletic Association. The UAA championships featured some of the best teams in all of Division III, and the Yellowjackets proved that they could compete with the best as they came home with a fifth place finish.

The star of the meet for UR was senior Kari Joyce, who made the NCAA B cut in the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle. This means that if her times place her in the top 16 in the country, she will qualify for the NCAA championships in March.

Joyce also broke three school records at the meet. Although she didn’t swim in the 100 free race, her time of 52.71 as the first leg of the 400 free relay broke a school record that had gone untouched for 18 years. In the 200 free preliminaries, she touched the wall in 1:55.54, breaking the school record she had set in 2006. Her final record came in the 200 backstroke, as she once again broke her own mark with a time of 2:09.51.

In the 200 free, Joyce’s time put her in sixth place for the event. Her mark in the 200 back was good enough for fifth place. It was also just .02 seconds shy of the NCAA B cut for that event. Also scoring points for UR in the 200 back were freshman Nora Hoefer, who placed 11th, and senior Mary Carol Karl, who finished 13th.

The freestyle relays also had a strong showing at the championships. The 800 free relay ‘A’ team of Joyce, Hoefer and seniors Karen Gromer and Michele Gruen placed third, just .18 seconds shy of the NCAA B cut. The ‘B’ team of Denise Moseman, senior Sonja Brun, junior Danielle Scherry and freshman Libby Cavagnaro placed fourth in their race and 12th overall. The 400 free relay ‘A’ team, made up of the same four swimmers as the 800 free relay ‘A’ team, placed fourth in the event. The ‘B’ team was disqualified for a false start. The 200 free relay ‘A’ team, featuring Gromer, Hoefer, Gruen and Joyce, placed fifth in the championship final, while the ‘B’ team of Cavagnaro, Brun, junior Sara Tomaski and sophomore Jill Endres placed fifth in the consolation final and 13th overall.

The medley relay teams did not fare quite as well, but still picked up important points for UR. The 400 medley relay ‘A’ team was disqualified for a false start, but the ‘B’ team picked up solid points in the consolation final with a fourth place finish, which put them 12th overall. In the 200 medley relay, Karl, junior Kelly Fischer, Scherry and Endres led the ‘A’ team to a seventh place finish and the ‘B’ team of junior Becky Fallon, Moseman, sophomore Megan Miller and Brun took 16th.

There were many highlights from the individual events as well. In the 1650 free, Gruen took fourth place and Scherry finished 10th. Hoefer finished eighth in the 100 back and Karl took 10th. Gromer finished 10th, and Gruen placed 11th in the 400 individual medley.

The senior trio of Joyce, Gruen and Gromer took care of business in the 500 free by placing 10th, 12th and 16th, respectively. Three more swimmers took top-16 spots in the 100 breaststroke, as Moseman, Fischer and Endres finished 14-15-16.

In the 200 breast, Moseman finished 11th and Fischer was once again right behind in 13th place. Rounding out the top performers was Gromer, who placed 12th in the 200 butterfly.

The ‘Jackets posted solid numbers in what was the final meet for three of the top four divers on the team. Senior Nancy Tremblay led the way with sixth place finishes on both the one-meter board and the three-meter board. Classmate Kara Nash was not far behind, placing seventh on the three-meter and eighth on the one-meter. Fellow senior Shannon Kahabka placed 11th on both boards, and sophomore Cheryl Blechman was 12th on the one-meter and 14th on the three-meter. None of the other seven women’s teams scored as many points on the diving boards as the Yellowjackets.

This is the second year in a row that the women have captured fifth at the UAA championships.

The men’s swimming and diving team headed to Case Western Reserve University to test its mettle against the cream of the crop after posting a 7-1 regular season record. The men turned in some solid race times, but the competition ultimately proved to be too much and the team came home with a seventh place finish.

According to head coach Pete Thompson, sophomore Bruce Maki set a school record in the 1000-yard freestyle, surpassing the mark he set last year. His 1650 free time of 16:40.57 was good enough for 11th place in the event, while freshman Matt Kaule placed 16th.

Senior Craig Matt came home with the best individual finish among the swimmers by placing seventh in the 200 free. Arguably the best race for the Yellowjackets, however, was the 100 backstroke, in which freshmen Garrett Lam and Dave Madar and sophomore Ryan White finished 10-11-12.

A number of other swimmers earned solid finishes during the championships. White placed 11th in the 200 back, while Matt matched that finish in the 200 butterfly. In the 400 individual medley, Maki took 14th with senior Zach Freed right behind in 15th. Maki rounded out the top scoring performances with a 15th place finish in the 500 free.

The swimmers were not the only ones to pick up significant points for UR. On the one-meter diving board, freshman Stephen Graves finished second, just .85 points out of first place. Sophomore David Mitsche also placed well, finishing fifth on both the one-meter and three-meter boards.

Leading the way for the relay teams was the 800 free relay ‘A’ team of Matt, Freed, sophomore Michael Hoffman and White, which finished sixth in the race. The ‘B’ team of freshman Tim Anderson, Kaule, senior Anthony Furstoss and Maki placed 16th. The 400 free relay ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams finished 7th and 16th, respectively, and the 200 free relay teams were eighth and 16th.

The 200 medley relay ‘A’ team, consisting of Lam, junior Jonathon Dennison, Matt and Hoffman placed seventh with the ‘B’ team (Madar, freshman Chris Jensen, Maki and Freed) taking 15th. The 400 medley relay teams mirrored this performance, with the ‘A’ team of Lam, Dennison, freshman Danny Friel and White taking seventh. Madar, Jensen, sophomore Eric Fischer and Kaule took 15th as UR’s ‘B’ team in the event.

The team says goodbye to just five seniors, and thus a strong core will be returning with the intent to improve upon the stellar performances of this year’s team.

Overall, Thompson was pleased with each of his teams.

“Both teams held their spots, which is what we expected,” Thompson said. “We had 87 lifetime best times at the meet and 227 for the season. Overall, we had a very good meet and an outstanding year.”

Moeller is a member of the class of 2009.

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