WKU men’s, women’s swimming sweep Hilltopper Invitational

Louie Little competes in the mens 400-yard individual medley at Saturday’s Hilltopper Invitational. The men’s and women’s teams both won the invitational.

Hasani Grayson

After three straight days of competition at the Hilltopper Invitational, Head Coach Bruce Marchionda said he could already see the improvement in his team from last season.

“If you compare where we were last year at this time, we are very much ahead of that pace,” Marchionda said. “Top to bottom we’re a little bit stronger, and we have a great group of freshmen in who are they were helping elevate the whole level of the program.”

Both the men’s and women’s team swept the event with scores of 1,838.5 and 1,648.5 respectively. Evansville finished second on men’s side with 1,159 points while Vanderbilt finished second on women’s side with 1,648.5 points.

Freshman Ashley Forsyth broke the pool record in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of 16:57.42 seconds. 

Another freshman that made an impact throughout the weekend was Drew Cato. The New Albany, Ind., native was part of the four-man relay team that finished first out of six teams with a time of 3:04.03.

Cato said that he felt good about his performance over the weekend despite the fact that he was competing in events in which he doesn’t usually participate.

He also competed in the 100-yard breaststroke, where he posted a time of 59.06, finishing third out of six swimmers.

“I’ve been working on my breaststroke a lot [in practice] and it really played off,” Cato said.

Junior Alex Van Oost was also pleased with her own performance and noted that the team did well overall despite how tiring the three-day event was.

“It’s kind of hard coming back and training hard going into a three-day meet,” she said. “It was tough but we stayed strong through the whole three days. “

Van Oost fared well in the 200-yard backstroke, finishing second out of six swimmers with a time of 1.58.66. Her time was .55 seconds off the lead pace.

Over the three-day event, the WKU men’s and women’s team combined to break nine school records in 10 different events.

Marchionda was pleased with the result his team produced but also said that he saw this weekend as a chance to see which role people will play on the team.

“We’re trying to find everyone’s third event and who’s going to go in the relays, so we learned a lot about who can step up today,” he said.

Marchionda also said that the physical rigors of this event will be similar to what the swimmers will experience in the Sun Belt championships, which will be a four day event in February.

Cato also said he feels better prepared for the conference tournament after this weekend.

“This did a lot for us because all of us are really sore,” he said. “It will help out at the end of the season. We’ll know what to expect.”