The Case Western Reserve University men’s swimming and diving team continued its rise into the national spotlight over the past few years as the team opened the 2012-13 season with a 4-0 win at the University Athletic Association Invitational hosted by the University of Rochester. The women’s swimming and diving team finished with a 1-3 record on the weekend.
The men began their season with victories over four conference rivals, defeating Brandeis University (0-4) 306-52, Carnegie Mellon University (3-1) 208-160, New York University (1-3) 250-120, and host Rochester (2-2) 244-124.
The men aren’t resting on their laurels, as they know they’ll meet these four teams again in four months at the UAA Championship in Chicago.
“We have to swim against these teams again at the conference championships in February. A lot can change in three or four months and we have to continue to advance our training,” said senior Kyle Tepe.
The men’s performance propelled them to No. 6 in the nation in the Endless Pools/Collegeswimming.com performance rankings. The rankings index takes into account the team’s top 75 percent of swims against all Division III performances in the past three years. Case was the second highest UAA team in the rankings behind No. 1 Emory University. Seven of the men’s teams, with the exception of Brandeis’s newly founded program, are in the top 25.
The men reached as high as No. 12 last year in the College Swimming Coaches Association of American poll.
The women opened their season with a victory over Brandeis (0-4) 296-67 but they fell to Carnegie Mellon (4-0) 225-143, New York University (2-2) 225-143, and Rochester (3-1) 224-146.
The women were also ranked No. 16 in the performance index. They are seventh in the UAA in terms of the rankings, ahead of just Brandeis. Emory is at the top of the rankings while the University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon, and Washington University are No. 5-7, respectively.
The men were led by a number of impressive performances across the board.
Freshman Aaron Tam was stellar is his debut as he replaces graduated distance swimmer Sam Geiger. Tam made his collegiate debut in the 1650-yard freestyle where he finished third in 16:48.42. He also finished second in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:47.27. To complete the cycle Tam then finished off his weekend with a victory in the 500-yard freestyle with a winning time of 4:47.86.
The Spartan men’s relays were also in fine shape as they won three of the five relays on the weekend. The first came in the meet’s opening event, the 400-yard medley relay, when sophomore Andrew Bollinger, junior Sean Nickley, sophomore Eric Haufler, and junior Gus Bailey finished with a winning time of 3:33.22. The same quartet also took home the 200-yard medley relay in a winning time of 1:36.45. The men closed out of the weekend with a win in the 400-yard freestyle relay with as Eric Haufler, juniors Heath Hudgins, Scott McHenry, and Gus Bailey finished first in 3:12.76.
Nickley had an impressive individual performance as well finished as a double winner with wins in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke disciplines with times of 59.81 seconds and 2:11.92, respectively.
Bollinger picked up a win in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 53.08.
Junior diver Daniel Jacobson picked up a pair of second places on the 1- and 3-meter dives as he finished with 271.70 and 261.75 points, respectively.
“We all knew we had a talented and deep team, but this weekend we proved to our conference how focused and motivated we are when it comes to competition,” said senior Chris Emr.
On the women’s side, the Spartans were led by junior Sara Tillie who was a triple winner, taking home blue ribbons in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:32.53 and both the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes with times of 1:10.27 and 2:32.53. She also finished third in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:46.08.
The women picked up a second place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay as junior co-captain Maggie Dillione, freshman Alison Thirion, freshman Rebecca Pakradooni, and senior co-captain Krysta Payne touched the wall with a time of 8 minutes 4.78 seconds.
Dillione grabbed a pair of second place finishes in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly events with times of 59.28 and 2:10.72.
Pakradooni also managed to pick up a top-three finish when she finished third in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:01.13.
The Spartans will be back in the pool this weekend when they host the Cleveland City Tournament. The meet will match the Spartans up against Notre Dame College on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. The winner of that meet will then swim the winner of John Carroll University vs. Lake Erie College on Saturday at 2 p.m. The losers on Friday night will match up Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m.
The winner of the weekend will then matchup with the winner on the other side of the bracket which includes Oberlin College, the College of Wooster, Hiram College, and Baldwin Wallace University. The championship meet will take place next weekend on Saturday, Nov. 10 at a time and place determined by the winners.