SWIMMING: Men guaranteed 33rd consecutive winning season

Josh Buckman

Western’s swimming and diving teams keep piling up wins. Evansville was the latest victim, Saturday.

On the men’s side, the Hilltoppers (12-0) had little trouble putting away Evansville, winning 132-70.

Western showed both talent and depth winning 10 of 13 events and finishing one-two in five of them.

The relay team of senior Gord Veldman, freshman Chris Tarter and juniors Jay Smith and Drew Aldridge won the 200-yard medley relay in 1:35.03 while teammates sophomore Greg Strickler, seniors Charlie Knight and Jerrod Janes and junior Ryan Crosby finished second (1:35.29).

Other one-two finishers included sophomore Nick Bracco and Strickler winning the 500-yard freestyle, Tarter and freshman Stephen Ayers in the 200-yard breaststroke, and senior Donny Glass and freshman Michael Laake in both one and three-meter diving.

The Hilltoppers also took the top spot in the 200-yard freestyle relay where a team of freshmen Shane Music, Tommy Pollock, Chris Raniere and Bracco won in 1:28.48.

In the other events, Veldman grabbed first in the 50-yard freestyle (21.36), sophomore Alex Handley won the 200-yard butterfly (1:54.37), senior Kevin Kleman placed first in the 100-yard freestyle (9:43.11) and Aldridge took the 100-yard freestyle (48.58).

With only three more meets left in the season, the Hilltoppers have the chance for their first undefeated season in three years.

Regardless of the outcome the team is guaranteed its 33rd consecutive winning season.

“I think it shows how wonderful and good swimming is for Western,” Handley said.

For the second week in a row, the women’s swimming and diving team was able to pull off a victory despite winning only six of 13 events.

Once again team depth proved to be the decisive factor as the Lady Toppers (12-3) knocked off Evansville 138-102.

“We wound up winning easy,” coach Bill Powell said. “But it was still a challenge.”

Western displayed their depth in the 500-yard freestyle when freshmen teammates Lisa Ross (5:13.52), Meredith Mountjoy (5:13.79) and Amber Miller (5:18.40) swept the top three spots.

Ross and freshman Stacy Schortgen also teamed up to go one-two in the 1000-yard freestyle with times of 10:36.23 and 10:38.79.

“Coach said it was going to be a tough meet, but we all came through as a team,” Ross said.

The critical point in the meet came during the three-meter diving when Purple Ace Ellen Miles lead Western junior Marci Kascir and sophomore Trisha Nailor with only one dive left in the meet. A clean dive would have probably given the event to Miles. However Miles scored an average of two points on her final dive allowing Kascir and Nailor to finish one-two in the event.

Kascir and Nailor also took the top two spots in the one-meter dive with scores of 230.45 and 212.95.

A relay team of sophomore Alexis Rieck, seniors Deanne Thomas and Carol Brown and freshman Rachel Buncher won the 200-yard freestyle (1:42.97) while Mountjoy set a career best in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:57.61.

The win extends the team’s record to 17-3, surprising both team members and Powell who thought the team would be lucky to finish above .500. They are also guaranteed their fifth straight winning season.

Next Saturday both the men and women will stay at home to take on Southwest Missouri and Emory. For the women, it will be the last dual meet of the season.

Reach Josh Buckman at [email protected]