Yeowomen Second, Yeomen Third in Home Invite

Kate Hanick, Staff Writer

The Oberlin swim teams hosted Centre College and Ohio Wesleyan University this past weekend in a two-day invitational. The men finished in third and the women in second behind Centre College. The women ended day one ahead of the pack but fell behind in day two, ending a mere 19 points behind Centre. Oberlin divers ruled the board with sophomore Chris McLauchlan and juniors Jordan Attwood and Rhys Hertafeld all finishing first, second and third respectively in the three-meter dive, along with sophomore Adrian Ziaggi ending with 185.13 points in the three-meter.

With pent-up intensity and each team chanting its pump-up routine, which included OWU’s strange use of an orange highway cylinder, and, of course, Oberlin’s intimidating war cries, the second day began. It started with the Yeowomen’s 200-yard medley relay, comprised of first-years Lauren Wong, Jillian Sarazen and Deirdre Haren and junior Anna Saltzman. The team took first with a time of 1 minute 52.11 seconds. Saltzman and first-year Samma Reagan then went on to place second and third in the 200-yard freestyle with respective times of 2:02.37 and 2:03.69. The 100-yard backstroke came next, with Haren finishing second and first-year Mia Wallace in third. Haren then placed first in the 50-yard freestyle with a time 25.46. Her relay mate Sarazen took third in the same event.

First-year Lauren Wong continually put out an impressive effort as she went on to place first in the 100-yard backstroke after placing first the previous day in the 200-yard backstroke.

Wong spoke to the atmosphere of the meet from her perspective as a first-year: “There was a lot of excitement coming into Friday. We were rested and ready to race. This meet felt a little bit bigger than our previous meets, but the purpose of the meet was to gain experience for Conferences. The format of the meet was similar to the format we will have in February, and we needed to gain the experience of racing multiple days and while tired.”

On her mindset during the meet, Wong said, “I always try to approach all of my races the same, no matter how big the meet. My goal is always to give a best effort and swim a clean race. I like to not think before my races; I just want go out and leave everything in the pool.”

Wong’s fellow Yeowomen seemed to share this sentiment, as many stellar performances were seen on the second day. Just like the women, the men came in first in the 200-yard medley relay with sophomore Jack Redell and his first-year counterparts Ben Shepherd, Jacob Zuckerman and Marshall Waller finishing with a time of 1:40. Sophomore Chris Ayoub won the grueling 500 freestyle, coming in at 4:57.14.

Waller consistently impressed with his next events, placing first in the 100 butterfly (54.01) and 100 backstroke (54.56). Waller was followed closely by his teammate Shepherd, who placed second in the 100 backstroke (55.66).

“I thought we swam really well,” Waller said. “On the guys’ side, we had some really fast individual swims, and our relays did well too.” He commented on his own as well as his teammates’ intentions for each meet: “I think the team knew we were prepared to swim fast, so everyone was especially excited to see what we could do. Regardless of the meet, we’re all trying to get wins for each other.”

Redell added an experienced point of view to the picture: “The Yeomen had a pretty great meet, despite our finishing third. We tapered our yardage in practice a little bit this past week, so we were all really ready to race on Friday and Saturday. We saw season-bests across the board, in both distance and sprint events. This was also a good practice run for our conference meet at the end of the season. With the full event lineup, we were able to get a little taste of what the end of our season would feel like.”

Looking to the rest of the season, Redell said, “We’re all looking to stay on the trajectory that we’re on right now. Right now, both the men’s and women’s teams are seeing pretty steady improvement.”

Comparing this year’s team to last year’s, Redell said, “Both the Yeomen and the Yeowomen are very young this year. While the women’s team has only two seniors, the men have none at all. Even with their low numbers, our seniors, Lyssa Houser and Rachel Coyte, have shown unbelievable leadership and enthusiasm this year. This is where our freshmen have been absolutely phenomenal. The new class immediately stepped up to the challenge of scoring points where they were lost by last year’s graduating class. Each new swimmer has become a leader on the team.”

Swimming and diving continues its season in the new year with a Jan. 11 meet at Ohio Northern University as the young team hopes to continue its upward trend.