Swim teams fall to rival CMU

On Saturday, Oct. 28, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams faced their biggest test of the young season traveling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to go up against fellow University Athletic Association (UAA) rival Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Despite a strong fight, the CMU Tartans came out on top of the Case Western Reserve University Spartans in both the men’s and women’s competitions by scores of 194-89 and 241-59 respectively.

Both the Spartan men and women fell to 1-1 in dual meets this season. Despite the losing effort from his team, Head Coach Doug Milliken realizes this is a learning opportunity for them and that they can grow from it.

“I think it was a good taste of what we experience in the UAA, so from that perspective, it was a nice wake-up call for the team,” said Milliken. “The positives were that we had some real strong individual performances and the fact that we can learn a lot from this meet.”

The mental aspects of swimming is something Milliken feels his squads can improve on to close the gap between them and CMU. Milliken feels if his team is tougher mentally they will be more competitive on the UAA level.

“In terms of getting better, it’s a mindset,” said Milliken. “We need to learn to swim better when we are tired.”

The coach was particularly proud of the way first-year swimmers Sean Twomey and Will McDonald and fourth-year swimmer Aaron Pang competed on the men’s team and the way second-year swimmer Olivia Picchione and third-year swimmer Suhan Mestha competed for the women. Milliken felt that those five had “great swims.”

Mestha earned the Spartans 19 points with her strong finishes in four events. She finished first in the 100-yard backstroke, second in the 200-yard backstroke and contributed to two point-earning relay teams, the 200-yard medley and the 200-yard freestyle. Picchione competed in three events and earned five points for CWRU, with a fourth place finish in the 400-yard IM and a third place finish in the 200-yard butterfly.

For the men’s team, Twomey picked up 14 points for his team with a first place finish in the 400-yard IM, a third place finish in the 200-yard breastroke and a fourth place finish in the 200-yard freestyle. McDonald earned 12 points while competing in four events, including a first place finish in the 200-yard backstroke. Pang added 13 points with a first place finish in the 200-yard butterfly and a second place finish in 400-yard IM.

Milliken realizes that his team’s strength lies in their depth, and in the dual meet format depth is not rewarded. He reemphasized the point that if his swimmers just go out and compete they will still be successful.

“My expectations are that we will compete harder and with more aggressiveness and enthusiasm,” he said. “If we compete the way I know we can, than good things will happen this week.”

The Spartans will need to rebound from their loss quickly as they have two dual meets in the next week. They will be swimming against The College of Wooster at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, before returning home to host Oberlin College on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m.