Author: Ryan Graff
The Occidental men’s and women’s swim teams competed for the first time in the 2011 season on Nov. 12 in the Redlands Pentathlon. In addition to the Tigers, the meet included host University of Redlands, Whittier College, Pomona-Pitzer, Chapman University, University La Verne, Soka University and Biola University. While this was an unscored meet, it allowed the Tigers to get into the rhythm of the new season and gain experience for future race strategy.
“The big theme this week in our preparation was in taking whatever the clock said at the end with a grain of salt. Our major focus was in executing our race plan and gaining some experience before we open up our conference competition in a couple weeks,” said head coach Shea Manning.
The meet format, which relied heavily on individual performances, slated swimmers from each school in five different events. Competitors raced in the 100-yard butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and individual medley. Swimmers’ times from the first four of these events were added together to determine seedings for the individual medley. Then, the top three finishers of the individual medley were awarded free t-shirts.
A number of Tigers had success in the Pentathlon, preparing them well for the rest of this season. Top performers included Steven van Deventer (first-year), who represented the underclassmen with a strong showing. Van Deventer finished fifteenth overall out of a field of more than 80 other swimmers. His best event of the day was a second-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke.
On the women’s side, Mallory Ryan (senior) claimed tenth overall out of over 100 competitors and took third place in the 100-yard butterfly. Caroline Chang (sophomore), who is defending two SCIAC titles in the breaststroke, took fifteenth overall and sixth in the breaststroke. In addition, Emily Watkins (first-year) capped off the day for the women with a second-place finish in the breaststroke. “”I was pleased with how our young team responded to the first official racing opportunity of the season. We have been training very aggressively, especially across the past two weeks,” Manning said.
Occidental’s swim teams can be seen again on Nov. 19 when they travel to William Wollett Aquatic for the Orange County Invitational. The diving teams will also look to make a splash on Nov. 19 at the Redlands Diving Invite.
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