Yeowomen Take Fifth in Conference Finale
The swimming and diving teams shattered 20 personal records and two school records at the North Coast Athletic Conference Championships Feb. 8–11 at Denison University. Despite being low in numbers, the women captured fifth place overall while the men clinched eighth.
“I think that everyone really put in their best work this past weekend,” said senior freestyler Maddie Prangley. “We saw a lot of improvement in things that we had been working on throughout the season, and it was amazing to see the payoff. Everyone had a great attitude and was excited to race, and that really showed in the water.”
Prangley crushed the program record for the 1,650-yard freestyle on her first official attempt, adding to her three existing program records.
The quartet of Prangley, classmates Nora Cooper and Vera Hutchinson and first-year Sarah Dalgleish notched a top-10 mark of 3:35.60 in the 400-yard free relay. Dalgleish also fought through rookie jitters to break her personal record in the 100-yard freestyle with a mark of 55.38.
“It was all about controlling myself and not getting nervous,” she said. “I was able to hold it together, and I could see that my teammates were cheering me on, so I knew I had a good race.”
Cooper was also dominant individually, taking the women’s 100-free B-final with a 53.41 mark while senior Alice Blakely snapped her personal record in the 100-yard individual medley in her preliminary run. First-year Alex Grande and sophomore Rachel Poyle were successful in setting new personal records during the 100-yard individual medley with times of 104.61 and 110.08, respectively.
Head Coach Andrew Brabson said he was pleased that the women’s team was able to hold its own at the competitive meet.
“Only having 13 scores and being able to place fifth in a really tough conference was great,” he said.
Although the men landed further down in the rankings, Brabson commended their performance as well.
“We improved a spot from last year, and a lot of the guys got personal bests,” he said. “From an individual standpoint, we did very well. It was a solid meet.”
Led by first-year Jack McKeown, the Yeomen accrued more than 10 top times. McKeown set a personal record with a mark of 2:01.48 in the C-final of the 200 backstroke.
Rookie Michael Lin continued his successful season by qualifying for the A-final in the 200-breast with a time of 2:08.63, earning him eighth place. Earlier this year, Lin posted one of the top-10 fastest times in school history in the butterfly leg of the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:59.73. Brabson said the rookies had a big impact throughout the season.
“On the men’s side we have a very young team,” he said. “We do have a number of first-years who really did well and gained a lot of experience this year. We’ve seen a lot of our freshmen stand up and start to take leadership roles.”
As the season draws to a close, Brabson will turn his focus to recruiting. The men’s team has no juniors; it is populated with six rookies, one sophomore and two graduating seniors. The women’s team will also have a void in leadership at the end of this year when it graduates the most successful women’s swimming and diving class in school history. The outbound women have accounted for 11 school records and three of Oberlin’s top-four NCAC finishes.
“It’s going to be tough to replace them, but our outlook is strong,” Brabson said. “We’re in a rebuild mode now.”