By Laura Carr
Light flooding through the expansive windows at the University of Chicago’s swimming facility highlighted the stellar competition occurring in the pool and in the diving well on Oct. 24.
Denison’s women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams traveled to Chicago this past weekend to compete in a quad meet. The team faced Division III UChicago and Division I schools Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The men defeated the hosting team, UChicago, with a score of 170-124, but fell to their two Division I opponents, University of Illinois-Chicago (151-149) and Northwestern (222-78). Diver Ben Lewis ‘16 posted the team’s best finish. The senior placed second on the 1-meter board with a six-dive score of 289.05. Teammate Brian Allen ‘17 led the team on the 3-meter board with a third place finish.
Max Levy ‘17, who won both boards at the Division III National Championships earlier this year, was absent. The junior competed at last weekend’s diving relays, but is currently sitting out of competition until his results come back from an MRI taken on his knee. However, Levy traveled to Chicago with the team and filmed his teammates.
Stuart Hohm ‘18 and Jack Lindell ‘17 finished with the team’s two individual top-3 finishes in the pool. Hohm posted a time of 4:51.62 in the 500 freestyle for a third place finish, and Lindell completed in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:56.04 to log another third place finish. The foursome of Max Howes ‘17, Ryan Fleming ‘16, Conrad Wuorinen ‘16 and Kenny Fox ‘19 finished in third place in the 400 freestyle relay (3:10.24).
“There’s a lot of things that are different between this year and last year,” said Hohm, who trained with swimmers from the Ohio State University team this past summer. “There are some incredibly standout people in the freshman class. That being said, the sophomore, junior and senior class also has a lot of people with a lot potential. I’m expecting national spots this year are going to be fought for tooth and nail.”
The women’s team picked off UChicago and the University of Illinois-Chicago with scores of 193-107 and 159-140, respectively, but fell to Northwestern (221-89).
Halli Garza ‘18 took home the team’s lone event victory. The sophomore touched the wall in the 200 butterfly in a time of 2:04.02, which was also an NCAA ‘B’ cut. Marissa Bednarek ‘16 finished third in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes with times of 1:05.02 and 2:22.18, respectively. Both of her performances earned her a provisional qualifying time for the NCAA meet next year.
Carolyn Kane ‘17 finished second in the 50 freestyle (24.34), and Campbell Costley ‘17 finished second in the 500 freestyle (5:01.33) and third in the 200 freestyle (1:53.15). Her 500 freestyle time was also a ‘B’ cut. Kane, Ashley Yearwood ‘16, Bednarek and Mary Van Leuven posted a second place finish in the 200 medley relay. Kate Wright ‘16 teamed up with Kane, Yearwood and Van Leuven to log a runner-up finish in the 400 freestyle relay.
In diving, newcomer Emma Weber ‘19 led the team with her eighth place finish on the 1-meter board (191.63) and her seventh place finish on the 3-meter board (213.00). Teammate Eva Vivero ‘19 was right behind Weber on both boards.
Levy commented on the raw talent that showed out of his young teammates: “They overall had a really strong showing; it was a solid first actual meet for both of them. There were some good dives, some bad dives, some really good dives.”
Weber, a freshman interested in math and French, began diving two years ago after retiring from gymnastics at Level 9. She wanted to begin dancing after gymnastics because of her passion for the floor exercises, but decided to dive instead.
She said, “I’ve just really found after doing the dive, I feel the best. I just think to myself ‘I can’t believe that I’m here right now. I can’t believe that I’m diving after I thought that I wasn’t going to do anything after gymnastics. It’s a feeling of redemption for me.”
The Big Red will return to action on Nov. 6 in Columbus, when they will compete against Division I competition in Ohio State University. They will also host Xavier University on Nov. 7.