By Taylor Brien, Swimming World College Intern
JACKSONVILLE – November is a month of excitement as the teams of Midwest Conference swimming as it builds momentum for the Pioneer Classic and Carthage Classic.
The modern-day Midwest Conference (MWC) was founded in 1994 and contains 11 members. Of those 11, nine have swimming and diving teams: Beloit College, Carroll University, Grinnell College, Illinois College, Knox College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Monmouth College, and Ripon College.
Nov. 15 saw the first big meeting of the teams of the MWC as Beloit, Carroll, Grinnell, and Illinois College (IC) gathered at Monmouth for the Monmouth Invite. Grinnell swept the competition on both sides. Carroll took second on both sides, Monmouth third, IC fourth, and Beloit fifth. The Grinnell women won eight of the ten events for the day, but were unable to best Carroll in the 200 medley relay or the 50 free. Sophomore Beth Tsuha was one of the top finishers for the Grinnell women touching first in the 100 free (55.77), 100 breast (1:10.22), and anchoring the 400 free relay (3:45.69). Beth Gillig joined Tsuha for the 400 free relay and pulled out wins in the 200 free (2:02.21) and 100 fly (1:01.83), while teammate Hayley Levin was first in the 200 IM (2:15.48) and 500 free (5:25.42). Carroll’s Val Julian touched the wall first in the 50 free (25.79). Julian was also part of Carroll’s winning 200 medley relay. Teammate Morgan Stokes anchored the winning medley relay.
The Grinnell men also won eight of the ten events. Grinnell was untouchable in the relays beating the second place team by three seconds in the 200 medley relay and nine seconds in the 400 free relay. Sophomore Ian Dixon-Anderson won the 500 free (5:04.42) and 100 fly (55.21) for the Grinnell men. Carroll’s Shawn Lucchesi swept the sprint freestyle events.
The Knox men and women beat Eureka College (139-6 and 131-84) at home November 15. Sophomore Madeline Bruce continues to impress winning the 500 free (5:32.39) and swimming the butterfly leg of the winning 200 medley relay (2:06.86). Lawrence and Ripon faced off with the Lawrence women beating the Ripon women 129-67, while on the men’s side Ripon beat Lawrence 92-60. On the women’s side Lawrence senior Taylor Winter was successful in both the 500 free (5:24.88) and 1,000 free (11:04.87), while Ripon freshman Emma Goral won the 100 fly (1:00.62). For the men Ripon sophomore Andy Paloumpis claimed the 100 fly (57.39) and Lawrence freshman Travis Charlow finished first in the 200 free (1:53.30).
On November 16 the Lake Forest men and women faced Augustana College at home. The Lake Forest women opened the meet with an exciting new pool record of in the 200-meter medley relay (2:06.38). Senior Christina Pekar, who was Diver of the Year last season, won both the 1-meter (276.95) and 3-meter (297) diving events, while sophomore Sam Freedberg shined in the men’s 100-meter butterfly (59.37) and 400-meter free (4:23.27).
Beloit College v. Ripon College
Beloit will welcome Ripon and Simpson College on Saturday bringing Beloit and Ripon together for the first time in the 2014-15 season. Senior William McAneny is sure to dazzle in the sprint freestyle events, while junior Shaunte Moss will continue to impress in the 100 breast. McAneny was second in the 50 free at the Monmouth Invite with a time of 22.97 and fourth in the 100 free (51.87). Moss posted a 1:13.14 in the 100 breast earning her a fourth place finish.
Travelling to Beloit on Saturday, Ripon senior Jonathan Newberry will aim to challenge Beloit’s McAneny in the sprint freestyle events. Both seniors swam 22.9s this past weekend, so it is sure to be an impressive race. Freshman Emma Goral is sure to shine in the 100 fly as she continues to lead the conference with a 1:00.62.
No meet this week.
Traveling to Dubuque, Iowa Grinnell will compete in their first of two meets against Loras College. Grinnell’s arsenal of diverse swimmers is sure to prove useful against Loras’ smaller roster. Dixon-Anderson should be unchallenged in the distance events, while Levin is sure to impress in the 200 IM (2:15.48). Grinnell is sure to use this dual as a momentum builder as they prepare to host the Pioneer Classic.
Oak Wattanasirakul will be given some stiff competition in the 100 breast from Washington University in St. Louis’ sophomore Michael Lagieski. IC will aim to continue moving up in the conference, specifically in the 200 free and 100 fly from seniors Katia Swane-Barzowski and Audrey Brauer. Swane-Barzowski recently broke her own school record in the 200 free and will look to close the gap between her time of 2:10.34 and Monmouth sophomore Claire Woodrow (2:06.64). Freshman Lanie Thompson will be one to watch as she fights to break into the top for the 50 free and 100 free.
No meets this week.
Lake Forest College
Travelling to Chicago, Lake Forest will participate in the first of several invitationals in their schedule. The two-day Phoenix Fall Classic, hosted by the University of Chicago, will provide the Foresters with some stiff competition from some very talented teams outside of the MWC. Pekar won the 3-meter diving competition last year with 430.70 points and is sure to impress at the Classic again this year. The men finished third of eight teams last year, their best finish in their history of attending the Classic. With eight returning top-eight finishers the Forester men are sure to be quick competitors.
Lawrence is looking at some exciting match-ups in their dual with the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Saturday. Junior Emily Flack (2:02.84) leads UW-Whitewater’s Stacey Kincade (2:05.28) by a solid three seconds in the 200 free, while senior Taylor Winter will look for a win in the distance freestyle events. Paige Witter will have some tough competition in UW freshman Michaela Matthys in the 100 fly; Matthys recently recorded an NCAA Division III ‘B’ cut time. One second stands between UW’s Dan Bielski (1:52.01) and Lawrence’s Travis Charlow (1:53.30) in the 200 free, a race that is sure to thrill.
After a strong opening invite at home, Monmouth will be looking to continue the momentum as they take on the Franklin College Grizzlies at home Friday evening. The Monmouth/Franklin dual will be a strong match-up as both teams have a wide array of diverse swimmers in events. On Saturday, the Scots will travel to Bloomington, Illinois to participate in the Illinois Wesleyan Invite. This meet will bring Monmouth and IC back together and allow opportunities for both teams compete, specifically in the sprint freestyle events. Monmouth senior Erin Willhite leads IC freshman Thompson by .60 seconds in the 50 free going into the invite.
Taylor Brien is a senior swimmer at Illinois College. Prior to joining Illinois College, she trained with Bettendorf Pleasant Valley Aquatics (2010-12), Pleasant Valley Swim Team (2004-09) and the Rock Island Orcas (2001-04). She also competed for the Bettendorf High School swim team.