LONG BEACH, California, November 20. PACED by several top-10 finishes, the Air Force men’s and women’s swimming teams wrapped up the first day of competition at the Nike Cup, hosted by UC Irvine at the Belmost Aquatic Complex. The men currently sit in second place in the team standings with 336 points, trailing just conference foe UNLV, while the women are in 12th place with 80.5 points.
Recording the top finish for Air Force on day one was sophomore Benjamin Gunn (Gainesville, Ga.), who placed second in the 200 IM with a mark of 1:51.10. Meanwhile, senior captain Bryan Avery (Mililani, Hawaii) placed third in the event with a time of 1:51.49, after clocking in at 1:51.05 in the preliminaries. Avery’s preliminary mark ranks ninth in the Air Force record books, while Gunn’s time is the 10th-best in Academy history. Also recording a top-10 finish in the event was sophomore Josh Hammervold (Sugar Land, Texas), who placed seventh after turning in a time of 1:52.39 in the prelims.
The Falcons had four swimmers place in the top 10 in the men’s 500 freestyle, led by Sean O’Keefe (Lake OSwego, Ore.), who placed third. Sophomore Tom Hansen (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) was next for Air Force, finishing sixth, followed by Corydon Butler (Fr., Williamsburg, Va.) in seventh place and Eric Robinson (So., Lakewood, Colo.) in 10th place.
Sophomore Robert Dawson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was the top competitor for the Falcons in the 50 free, finishing seventh in the race. His time of 20.85 in the preliminaries is tied for 10th in the Air Force record book, and the fastest mark for a Falcons in the event since 2006.
Also on day one, the 400 medley relay team of Kai Yamashiro (Sr., Kaneohe, Hawaii), Hammervold, Gunn and Avery placed fourth, clocking in with a time of 3:24.68.
On the women’s side, senior captain Jane Hwang (Irvine, Calif.) was the top finisher for Air Force, placing seventh in the 200 IM. Hwang, the school record holder in the event, clocked a season-best mark of 2:06.71 in the prelims.
Meanwhile, three Air Force swimmers advanced past the prelims in the 50 freestyle. Freshman Cassie Fletcher (Durham, N.C.) finished in 18th place with a mark of 24.38, while Alison Ceranski (Fr., Marinette, Wis.) and Laken Stogner (Sr., Bowdon, Ga.) tied for 22nd place after clocking in at 24.59 in the finals. In addition, Ceranski’s mark of 24.28 in the prelims ranks ninth in the Falcons’ record books and is the fastest time for Air Force in the event since 2004.
Also on Thursday, the Falcons added a seventh place finish in the 200 freestyle relay, as Ceranski, Fletcher, Hwang and Stogner combined for a mark of 1:37.06.
Special thanks to Air Force for contributing this report.