SWIMMING: Western pummels Indians

Wes Watt

When Louisiana-Monroe’s swimming teams finally gathered themselves, they may not have known what hit them. But after the Indians’ chlorine filled eyes became clear again, they found out it was Western’s swim teams.

Western’s men’s and women’s teams both grabbed victories this weekend against the Indians at Memphis in what Western coach Bill Powell considered a splendid performance.

The women’s meet gave Western a 44-point win courtesy of a freshman class that pulled in six first places finishes. Those finishes help propel Western to a 107-63 victory against the Indians on Saturday.

“They totally dominated,” Powell said. “Our girls never end at surprising me. They really looked good.”

After having a strong outing last weekend, freshman freestyler Megan Rames showed her consistency as she took first place in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle.

Rames said her performance last week helped give her confidence this week. But Rames said she had no idea she would do that well.

“It was exciting,” she said. “I don’t know where it came from. It was totally unexpected.”

Other freshmen who finished first included Veronick Cullen, Audrey Barnard, Jennifer Johnson and Samantha Sawzak.

The men’s team won its opening contest 108-89, but did it in a little different fashion.

The team didn’t dominate the first place spot. In fact ULM won six of the 11 events. But instead of first place, the Toppers used their depth to take the second, third and fourth spots multiple times to give them a 108-89 victory.

“Our depth really paid off in this meet,” Powell said. “Usually when a team wins more events than you do, it’s tough to win.”

Western swept the next two events taking the one, two and three spots. Then ULM won four events in a row to make the score 88-71. But the Toppers’ victory was never in doubt because Western took second, third and fourth in those four events, which almost negated the first place finishes.

One event in which the Toppers took first was the 200-yard freestyle, where freshman Nic Hurt set a new Western freshman record with a time of 1 minute, 39.96 seconds. And not only was it a new freshman record, but it ranks third on the Hilltopper’s all-time list.

The opening relay performance was vital after Powell said Western would lose by as much as five seconds. But it wasn’t that bad. Instead, Western surprised him, losing only by .036 seconds.

“That gave us a boost,” Powell said. “You never know how they will perform until the meet.”

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