CERRITOS, California, February 23. WOMEN: After the completion of two days at the 2008 SCIAC Swimming and Diving Championships, the California Lutheran University squad can be found near or at the top of several events. Three SCIAC titles, five podium finishes and eight top-eight finishes capped off a big day in Regals swimming.
Senior Christa Ratcliff and Kelsey Myers each earned their second SCIAC title while teammates Jill Minehan took second (100-fly), Jillian Friend finished third (400-yard IM), Kelley Fry finished fourth (100-back) and April Coyle secured sixth (200-free) on Friday.
Ratcliff kept a steady pace throughout her 400-yard IM victory (4:34.11) and steadily advanced past the competition. She was in fourth place after the opening 50 yards, and in a close battle for third during the following 100 yards.
After cutting the deficit to just .65 seconds heading into the breaststroke leg, she edged out ahead of runner-up Heidi Wolfgruber at the 250 mark and added nearly two more second with just the freestyle remaining.
Friend excelled at the breaststroke portion of the IM and powered through the freestyle to notch a podium spot (4:39.28). Her prelims time of 4:38.80 was enough to join the NCAA ‘B' Cut Qualifying group.
Myers led wire-to-wire in the 200-yard free and cruised to victory over a championship field. Her 1:54.54 winning time was nearly two seconds better than anyone else in the pool and well under the NCAA ‘B' Cut.
Coyle could not improve on her prelims time of 1:57.43 and finished sixth in finals to score 13 points for the Regals. Sophomore Lauren Rowlands came back to win the consolation finals of the event and finish ninth overall (2:00.52).
Minehan recorded the fastest prelims time in the 100-yard fly (58.58) setting a school record and notching a NCAA ‘B' Cut qualifying time. However in the finals, she came up just shy of a SCIAC title as freshman Naomi Laporte (58.48) won the finals over a 58.92 from Minehan. ULV's Tiffany Martin came in third and finished below the one-minute barrier (59.64).
Fry was able to qualified seventh for the finals and made it in by just .35 seconds. However she made the most of her opportunity jumping all the way up to fourth place overall and improving her school record with a 1:00.28 mark.
Cal Lutheran completed an impressive evening with a team victory in the 800-yard free relay. The 2008 two-time SCIAC Champions (Myers and Ratcliff) led off and anchored the event, with sixth place finisher in the 200-yard free (Coyle) going second and the third fastest 400-yard IM swimmer following her (Friend).
The team decimated their seeded time of 8:08.01 by nearly 20 seconds (7:48.70) and defeated the defending champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges by five seconds.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges is currently leading with 662 points with the University of Redlands in second (434). Cal Lutheran is in fourth place (345) and is just 28 points behind Pomona-Pitzer Colleges (373) for third position.
The final day of competition is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
MEN: After two days of competition at the SCIAC Swimming and Diving Championships, the Kingsmen are comfortably in fifth place and less than 20 points from reaching the top half of the standings.
Sophomore Jared Vermillion recorded the best finished of the evening placing second in the 100-yard butterfly (52.98) and shattered his own record by over 1.5 seconds.
The team opened the finals with a fifth place result in the 200-yard medley relay. The combination of Sam Walton, Kevin Bumb, Vermillion and Michael Blanchard broke the two-year old school record by nearly one full second, recoding a 1:40.08.
Three of the four swimmers from the opening swim would go on to break their own CLU records later on in the evening.
Freshman Sam Lovetro won the consolation final of the 400-yard IM (4:25.95) holding off a charging Greg Sanford of Redlands. The time was just over a three-second improvement to his previous best just two weeks ago.
Four different Kingsmen scored points in the 100-yard fly with Vermillion's 17 with a runner-up finish leading the way. Three CLU swimmers returned for the console finals with senior Kelby Tursick (53.60) winning the heat and Blanchard (54.55) and Jeremy Subadya (55.50) finishing 12th and 14th, respectively.
After a rare shut out in an event (200 free), CLU's Kevin Bumb took sixth place overall (1:03.74). His prelims time of 1:03.31 was the best of the day and seven-tenths of a second improvement of his Cal Lutheran record.
Walton finished seventh in the 100-back (56.26) and set the sixth CLU individual record of the night after his prelims swim of 56.19.
Cal Lutheran capped off the evening with a strong team performance finishing third in the 800-yard free relay (7:14.00). The team was seeded fifth prior to the event but all four members (Walton, Vermillion, Subadya and Blanchard) each swam under 1:50 for their respective 200-yard legs.
CLU diver Eric Vaughn collected his second podium position in as many days after taking third place on the three-meter board (382.40). CMS freshman Garrett Smith came in seeded fifth but a consistent performance placed him runner-up behind senior teammate Eric Moorhead (412.85).
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges is currently leading with 718 points, followed by the University of Redlands in second just over 200 points behind.
The final day of competition will begin tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.
Special thanks to California Lutheran for contributing this report.