SWIMMING: Toppers stroke their way to second

Josh Buckman

Most people consider the Kentucky Relays an exhibition. Don’t tell that to Western’s swimming team.

The men’s and women’s teams finished second overall and placed either first or second in 25 events.

“We had a lot of good swims,” men’s team captain Gord Veldman said. “I thought we did really well considering all the training we did last week.”

The men’s team won four of 13 events, and finished second in the other nine. The Hilltoppers won the 150- and 300-yard backstroke with a trio of Gord Veldman, Nick Bracco and Greg Strickler posting times of 1:10.15 and 2:34.05. During the 300 backstroke, Veldman swam an impressive split in 48.4 seconds.

A team made up of Chad Waits, Jay Smith and Ryan Crosby won the 300-yard butterfly in 2:33.78. Veldman and Crosby also teamed with Charlie Knight and Jerrod Janes to win the 200-yard medley relay. No time was available because the clock wasn’t working during the event.

Overall, the team finished with a score of 146, eight points behind Kentucky. Other scores included Transylvania with 86, Cumberland College 54, Centre 18 and Asbury 16.

On the women’s side, a combination of Jordan Beck, Carol Brown and Meredith Mountjoy won the 300-yard butterfly in 2:58.96 seconds. The race was tight, but with 10 yards to go, anchor Mountjoy pulled ahead to give the Lady Toppers the win.

“I felt . pretty good going in,” Mountjoy said. “We represented Western very well. It felt good to beat an SEC team like Kentucky (in that event).”

The women’s team finished second in 11 other races and accumulated 124 points for the meet. Kentucky won the meet with 178 points, followed by Western, then Translyvania with 94, Cumberland College 72, Centre 50 and Asbury 8.

This week the women’s team travels to Las Cruces, N.M., for the Sun Belt Conference Fall Classic, while the men get an extra week of practice. The Lady Toppers will get a first-hand look at conference favorite New Mexico State. They’ll also face tough competition from North Texas and Air Force.