Assistant Sports Editor
The swimming and diving teams competed in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships, held at the Brenda Villa Aquatic Center in Commerce last weekend.
The men finished fourth and the women finished sixth, and overall the two teams broke 16 school records this year.
“This season went well and everyone has worked hard to get to where we are today,” junior swimmer Madeline Lovrensky said. “I’m happy with what everyone’s been doing and it’s nice seeing the team dropping nice times.”
Lovrensky was also named SCIAC Swim and Dive Female of The Year.
She also placed fourth in the finals of the 50-yard freestyle event of day one with a time of 24.15 and was 0.01 off the school record in the 50 free with a time of 23.97 in the preliminaries.
In day two, Lovrensky claimed her third straight SCIAC title in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 56.00 and this is the ninth fastest this season in Division III. She had a meet record time of 2:02.56 in day three in the backstroke event.
“Overall, everyone broke a lot of records and even their own,” senior swimmer Samary Morales said. “Also, a lot of people came back for finals compared to last year.”
The men’s 200-yard free style relay team of Viken Huening, Daniel Carpenter, Andrew Phillips and Devon Photias came in fourth place with a time of 1:25.43, beating the previous school record of 1:26.05 also in day two.
The men’s 200-medley relay team of Coleman Goode, Marc Okimura, Photias and Huening came in third place, setting a school record time of 1:35.06.
In the 400-medley, Goode, Okimura, Photias and Carpenter beat the old school record of 3:31.00 with a time of 3:28.86.
Okimura placed second and made the NCAA “B” cut with his time of 2:03.66 in the 200-breast.
“It’s depressing that it’s my last season but I’ll still be hanging around,” Okimura said. “It’s nice to see new comers growing and improving.”
Breaking a 10-year old La Verne record on day three in the 400 free relay team, Jarrett Peterson, Huening, Photias and Carpenter came in with a time of 3:09.34.
“I’m glad to see the team performing well from beginning to end,” Okimura said. “We all contribute to this team and it’s nice to see all our accomplishments and how far we’ve come.”
Divers Jacob Tittl and Scott MacKay finished 2-3 scoring a 488.80 and 460.46 behind Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ two-time defending SCIAC champion, James Stevick. MacKay earned the highest scoring dive of 26.0 in the dive championships with a back dive pike.
MacKay and Tittl head to Grinnell College in Iowa this weekend for the NCAA Division III Regionals.
They are the first Leopards to ever compete in the NCAA Regionals and hope to qualify for the Division III National Championships, which will be held from March 19-22 in Indianapolis.
In the women 400-medley relay team, Lovrensky, Jacqueline Rojas, Sammi Shiomoto and Melanie Consiglio came in second place with a time of 3:53.89, beating the previous school record of 4:00.98.
The women also came in third place, breaking the varsity record in the 200-medley relay, with a time of 1:46.96.
Shiomoto finished fifth in the women’s 200 butterfly with a time of 2:11.13 and shaved six-one hundredths of a second off Tiffany Martin’s old record from 2009.
“It was a great weekend, I set four records and my personal best,” Shiomoto said. “This season was probably the best so far and it’s a nice way to end my last season.”
Shiomoto beat the previous record of the 200-individual medley by three seconds with a time of 2:12.87 in the finals of day one and also set a time of 58.07 in the 100-butterfly.
Although Rojas missed the podium and the “B” cut in the 100 breasts stroke, her time of 1:06.44 topped the previous La Verne record.
“This weekend was good, I broke my own record,” Rojas said. “But I’m pretty bummed that I missed the cut. But I’ll be back even stronger next season.”
Rojas also beat her own school record in the women’s 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:28.86.
With eight seniors leaving, many of the remaining swimmers are stepping up to the plate and hope for an even greater swim season next year and are determined to break records once again.
“I try not to have expectations because expectations set up for failure,” Okimura said. “I’m hopeful that they’ll end up building on what is left for them this season and the aspect of being not only a team, but a family.”
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.