Swimming and diving break school records at NCAA Championships

CWRUs girls 200 freestyle relay team consisting of second-years Claire Kozma, Eliza Dixon, and third-years Gabriella Chambers, Kelly Vann placed eighth at the NCAA Championships. Kozma reflected on the womens team this past season, stating Im really proud of the womens team, especially. We got fifth in UAA, which is the highest we’ve gotten in around 20 years.
CWRU’s girls 200 freestyle relay team consisting of second-years Claire Kozma, Eliza Dixon, and third-years Gabriella Chambers, Kelly Vann placed eighth at the NCAA Championships. Kozma reflected on the women’s team this past season, stating “I’m really proud of the women’s team, especially. We got fifth in UAA, which is the highest we’ve gotten in around 20 years.”
Courtesy of Tim Phillis/CWRU Athletics

This past weekend, Case Western Reserve University’s swimming and diving teams traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina for the 2024 NCAA Championships. The championships, which occurred from March 20 to March 23, gave the Spartans bright lights and a grand stage to notch numerous achievements with 11 total athletes receiving All-America honors, matching a program record from 2002 and 2001.

Among the athletes who received such honors was celebrated third-year diver Abigail Wilkov. This past season has been incredibly fruitful for Wilkov as she improved upon her own school records for both the 1- and 3-meter dives and became the first Spartan to score over 500 points in the 11-dive versions during the meet against Kenyon College. During the NCAA Championship, Wilkov placed sixth in the 3-meter with a score of 469.70 and seventh in the 1-meter with a score of 435.05. During the preliminary heats, she placed third and second, respectively. Her sixth place finish was also recorded as the highest Spartan finish in a diving event, besting her own record of seventh place in 2022.

“It is so special to have placed the highest for a Spartan. My freshman year, I came in 7th, and then last year I didn’t make A finals but came in 10th after the consolation final. To come in 6th place on 3 meter this year was really exciting personally, and as a part of CWRU. It is so special representing CWRU and to be setting new records for the school,” Wilkov commented on her achievement.

Second-year Claire Kozma received five All-America honors for her outstanding performance, the second highest number achieved by a Spartan in a single competition. Kozma competed in a total of seven events and for her individual events placed 30th, 28th and tenth in the 100 freestyle, 100 and 200 butterfly with times of 51.68, 56.15 and 2:04.42, respectively. Four of the seven events were relays which all placed at or above 16th, earning four All-America honor titles for her and her teammates. These races included the 200 freestyle relay with third-years Gabriella Chambers, Kelly Vann and second-year Eliza Dixon, the 400 medley relay with Chambers, and third-years Erica Rice and Kate Menzer, the 800 freestyle relay with Chambers, third-year Angeli Paull and first-year Maggie Rose Rook, and the 400 freestyle relay with Chambers, Menzer and Paull. The 200 freestyle, 400 medley, 700 freestyle and 400 freestyle finished eighth (1:34.08), 16th (3:50.59), 14th (7:34.27) and 13th (3:27.12). Among those relays, two school records were also set with the 200 freestyle relay team finishing the preliminary heats in 1:33.86 seconds and the 400 freestyle relay team beating their own record of 3:27.49 set earlier this year at the Total Performance Invitational.

Kozma commented on her favorite part of the meet, describing the atmosphere during the 200 freestyle relay: “There are so many, but it was probably our 200 free relay that got 8th, we were in the final heat, there was music. We were in the edge lane, so our team was all behind our block and our family was going wild in the stands. We had no expectations, it was just an amazing experience.“

Concluding a fruitful season at the NCAA Championships by placing seventh in the 400 individual medley, third-year Peter Meng commented on the pressure and expectations he faced during the season, “Unsurprisingly, the national level environment is much heavier than all of the meets we participate in throughout the season. Although I have prior experience swimming at such a competitive level, the pressure to perform has not gotten any easier to handle. As far as expectations go, I think that the expectations I have for myself are much higher than the expectations my teammates have for me, and so it’s much more of an internal dilemma. ” (Courtesy of Tim Phillis/CWRU Athletics)

On the men’s team, the Spartans saw an impressive individual performance from third-year Peter Meng who achieved an All-America honors and an All-America honorable mention, making him the first male Spartan to receive multiple All-America honors at the same championship since 2017’s two-time honoree Drew Hamilton and the first CWRU male swimmer with a podium place since 2006.

During the 400 individual medley, not only did Meng place seventh, the highest placing for male Spartans since 2006, but he also set the school record with a time of 3:53.35 during the preliminary heats.

“Not only does it feel good to place higher than I expected but I am also very happy to see how far I’ve come during my time on the [CWRU] swim team. Similarly, I was very proud of my performance in my time trial, earning my first US Open qualification, and I am excited for the opportunity to compete there in December this year,” Meng said.

Despite the end of the 2023-2024 swim and dive season, Meng looks forward to the next season, mentioning how he will continue to strive for personal growth, a sentiment shared by the team.

“The sense of accomplishment has never gotten old for me, and being able to watch myself improve is one of the greatest feelings. While I am certainly very happy with my achievements thus far, I think I still have room to improve and hopefully achieve even greater success in the future. As the sport of swimming keeps evolving and getting faster, I just hope I can put up a time that will last as long as possible before it inevitably gets taken down,” Meng said.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

In an effort to promote dialogue and the sharing of ideas, The Observer encourages members of the university community to respectfully voice their comments below. Comments that fail to meet the standards of respect and mutual tolerance will be removed as necessary.
All The Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *