MARY CLARE EDWARDS, JAEEUN LEE & JOANNE LEE — The Denison Swim and Dive Team earned their national ranking this past weekend at the 2018 Denison Invitational.

The Invitational, previously held at Miami University, lasted three days and consisted of Division I, Division II and Division III schools.

Despite strong competition from Emory, Eastern Michigan, Washington University-St. Louis, Wayne State and Thomas More, both the men’s and women’s teams were able to secure first place at the Invitational.

The Denison Men’s Swim and Dive team won the event with 2,936 points, an impressive 1,064 points over second-place, Emory University.

The Denison Women’s Swim and Dive team earned 2,479 points to win the Invitational. They surpassed tough Division I school Eastern Michigan, who came in second place at 2,046 points.

Roommates and teammates John Stauffer ‘21 and John Spencer ‘21 commented on the success of the weekend.

John Stauffer improved his ‘B’ cut time in the 200 IM by 0.48 seconds after touching in sixth place at 1:49.17.

“Overall, I think the team’s energy was everything, and it helped lead us to win team championship. On the second day, speedwise we couldn’t display 100% of our strength in the meet. However, from second night to the third day, we raced harder and kept in mind how much this sport and nationals means to us,” said Stauffer.

John Spencer swam his personal best in the 50 free, 100 free and 200 free.

“The team is doing well collectively, there were over 50 people that had their best times. Going into the meet, I wanted to drop in every single event that I competed in, and I was able to accomplish that,” said Spencer.

The weeks leading up to the meet were not easy. The team had morning and afternoon practices, in addition to juggling their school work.

Spencer revealed how busy his schedule is. “I usually get five hours of sleep. When I’m not at the pool, I’m studying, and when I’m not studying, I’m sleeping. Time management is important, which is why I don’t have social media on my phone.”

Stauffer chimed in that, “Physically, we have 10 practices a week, so it’s very demanding. I swam club during high school but training in college swimming is much more intense, so that took a little getting used to.”

However, both swimmers spoke highly of their teammates. Between the team breakfasts following 5 AM practices, grabbing lunch in Curtis together in between classes, and supporting each other during afternoon practice, the swimmers inspire each other day in and day out.

Spencer says, “The men’s team culture is that we are one team. When one teammate does really well, we put our fists together over our head and it symbolizes the unification of the team. Since we work really hard with our brothers, the gesture recognizes the hard work you put in with your team.”

Stauffer also commented, “My training team–long mid distance group– inspires me a lot. Watching them training and performing helps me set my bar higher.”

The Denison Swim and Dive team is entering the second half of their season now, where they will be training to race. They’ll have a training trip in January, a couple of dual meets, and then will compete in the NCAC Championships in February.