Western’s swimming and diving team is still rolling after a three-day stop in the land of cheese.
The Hilltoppers beat Wisconsin-Green Bay on Friday and Saturday before disposing of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Sunday.
“I was really proud of our kids,” head coach Bill Powell said.
On Friday against the Phoenix, the men gave a strong team effort. Gord Veldman and Jerrod Janes led the Toppers. Veldman won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 52:98, and Janes won the 100-yard freestyle in 48.24. Western won seven of 13 events to pick up a 133-109 win.
“It was a very long trip, but it was worth it,” Veldman said.
On Saturday, freshman James Campbell came up big with wins in the 400-yard individual medley (4:11.76) and the 500-yard freestyle (4:44.47) to lead Western to victory over the Phoenix, 122-79.
Campbell’s win in the 500-yard freestyle was almost 13 seconds faster than the closest competitor.
The Toppers won eight events. The 400-yard freestyle relay was declared an exhibition in an effort to not run up the score.
It was Campbell coming up again on Sunday against UWM with first place finishes in the 200-yard individual medley and 500-yard freestyle with times of 2:00.19 and 4:44.60 en route to a 140-88 Western win.
Campbell won five individual events during the weekend series. The men won 10 events total and are now 5-0 for the season.
The biggest surprise this weekend was Stephen Ayers, who came up with two big wins in the 200-yard breaststroke – considered a weak event for the team early in the season.
“I focused more on the race mentally,” Ayers said. “I also loosened up before meets.”
The women’s team was led by diver Marci Kacsir, who won five of the six women’s diving events during the three days.
“I was kind of prepared to dive tired,” Kacsir said. “For me to dive, I can’t get too angry or happy. You have to distance yourself from your emotions.”
On Friday night against the Phoenix, Kacsir and Meredith Mountjoy combined for four of the Lady Toppers’ six wins in a 133-89 victory.
Kacsir won the 1-meter (216.53) and the 3-meter (200.85) events.
The next day Kacsir, Lisa Ross and Rachel Buncher each had two first-place finishes. Kacsir won the 1-meter and 3-meter dives with scores of 223.73 and 207.60. Ross won the 500- and 1000-yard freestyles in 5:17.54 and 10:43.05. Buncher won the 100- and 200-yard freestyles in 55.12 and 1:52.28. And freshman Jordan Beck set a new pool record in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:09.35.
Western won 135-106 as the Lady Toppers took eight events. On the final day in Milwaukee, Carol Brown won the 50-yard freestyle in 25.43 seconds and the 100-yard freestyle in 55.67. And Beck set another pool record, this time in the 200-yard backstroke (2:09.47).
“It really feels good,” Beck says. “We’ve really come together as a team.”
The Lady Toppers won 11 events and had the 400-yard freestyle relay declared an exhibition. They won the meet 142-96, improving their record to 11-2.
Next week the Hilltoppers compete in their first home meet of the season against NAIA Cumberland College. The meet should allow Powell to shuffle the lineup.
Reach Josh Buckman at [email protected]