Courtesy: Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The Southwestern University men led wire to wire en route to the program’s first-ever SCAC Swimming and Diving Championship, taking home top honors with Saturday night at the Palo Alto College Aquatic Center.
The Pirates finished with 884 points to defeat second-place Trinity University, who ended the event with 823 points. Colorado College was third with 660 points, followed by Centenary College with 442 points, Austin College with 272 points, University of the Ozarks with 240 points and McMurry University with 227 points.
After Southwestern came within 5 1/2 points of toppling the Tigers in 2017, the Pirates finally broke through Saturday and snapped Trinity’s string of seven consecutive conference crowns.
Southwestern led by 57 points heading into today’s final session but after the afternoon’s 3-meter diving session, the Pirates’ lead had been trimmed to four points.
The Pirates picked up individual wins by Keith Gill and Alek Argueta on Saturday, and ended the evening with a victory in the 400 free relay to clinch the title.
Gill earned his second win of the meet with his victory in the 100 free, navigating the course in a time of 45.72 while teammate Carl-Ake Willberg was third in 46.56. Miguel Vasquez of Centenary placed second in a time of 46.19.
Argueta picked up his second win of the meet as well by taking gold in the 200 breast in a time of 2:05.42. His teammate, Sean Calvert, was third in 2:09.80. Connor McClure of Trinity finished second in 2:09.32.
Southwestern iced its team victory with Saturday’s session-ending win in the 400 relay. The team of Willberg, Gill, Todd Coachman and Peter Robinson touched first in a time of 3:04.39 with Trinity (3:06.18) and Colorado College (3:07.93) also earning All-SCAC relay honors.
Trinity swept both Diver- and Swimmer-of-the-Meet honors as sophomore Daniel Valmessei won the award for the second consecutive year on the heels of a victory Saturday on the 3-meter apparatus. He posted a final score of 494.65 to defeat teammates Anthony Liva (444.15) and Duncan MacAskill (417.25).
Junior Jacob Hurrell-Zitelman earned his third consecutive SCAC Swimmer-of-the-Meet award – the first man in SCAC history to do so since the award was started in 2008. Hurrell-Zitelman added a victory in the 1,650 free on Saturday to his victory in the 400 IM on Friday and his second-place finish in the 500 free on Thursday. He won Saturday’s 1,650 in a NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 16:15.98, defeating Southwestern’s Matthew Oevermann (16:24.38) and University of the Ozarks’ Jacob Jones (16:51.83). The All-SCAC finish by Jones represented the first all-conference swim for an Ozarks swimmer (male or female) since the program joined the SCAC in 2017.
After two runner-up finishes earlier in the meet, Trinity’ Daniel Sarmon picked up his first gold with a victory in the 200 back with a winning time of 1:50.89. Southwestern’s Robinson was second in 1:50.95 and Eamon Morris of Trinity finished third in 1:52.24.
In the last individual swim of the meet, Trinity’s Beau Tipton won the 200 fly for the second consecutive year and completed the 100-200 fly sweep – becoming just the second SCAC male to accomplish that feat since 2007. After breaking his own SCAC meet and open record in the event during the morning prelims when he touched in 1:49.01 (also a NCAA ‘B’ cut), Tipton took home gold Saturday evening in a time of 1:50.38. Teammate James Warren was second in 1:54.69 and Colorado College’s Eric Dallesassse finished third in 1:54.98.
Following the meet, the Southwestern University staff – led by eighth-year head coach Jon Duncan, along with assistant coach Sarah James, diving coach Jake Foust and volunteer assistant Dr. Scott McLean – earned SCAC Men’s Coaching Staff-of-the-Year honors. It was the fifth honor for both Duncan and the program since he took over the program prior to the 2011-12 season.
Trinity University cruised to its 16th consecutive conference title at the 2019 SCAC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship which wrapped up Saturday evening at the Palo Alto Aquatic Center.
Trinity finished with 932 points while Colorado College was second with 830 points and Southwestern University was third with 703. Rounding out the standings, Centenary College finished in fourth with 428 points, Austin College was fifth with 331 points, the University of the Ozarks placed sixth with 170 points and McMurry University finished seventh with 131 points.
Mabel Fowler led the Tigers with three individual wins, culminating with Saturday’s victory in the 200 back where she touched first in a NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 2:02.94. Teammate Paige Johnson finished second in 2:05.87 and Centenary’s Brianna Serret was third in a time of 2:10.14.
On the boards, the Tigers’ Maren Merwarth wrapped up SCAC Diver of the Meet honors with a second-place finish in the 3-meter discipline. Merwarth, who had won the gold on the 1-meter board the day before, scored 350.10 points to barely lose to Colorado College’s Riley Wadehra who finished with 355.45 points. Wadehra’s victory represented the first win by a non-Trinity diver since Hendrix College’s Jill Greshowak swept both boards at the 2005 championships. CC’s Jen Middleton was third with a score of 332.85.
The Tigers put a bow on their team title with a victory in the 400 free relay – the program’s third-consecutive win in the culminative event. The team of Fowler, Johnson, Star Rosales and Morgen Reyna touched the wall in a NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 3:29.40, the second-fastest time ever in the event. Southwestern finished in second at 3:31.88 and Colorado College completed the All-SCAC trio with a time of 3:42.54.
In addition to being its 16th consecutive team title, Trinity now has 19 total SCAC Women’s Swimming and Diving championships – which is tied with Centre College men’s basketball for the fifth-most by any single program in league history. Trinity men’s tennis and Trinity women’s soccer both have 23 team titles, Trinity women’s tennis has 22 and Trinity men’s soccer has 21.
Although Southwestern finished third in the team standings, the Pirates were dominant at the top of the awards podium during Saturday’s finals session. Of the five individual events contested, Southwestern swimmers took first place in four of them. Ashley Harmon pulled off a historic double when she took first place in both the 1,650 free and the 200 fly – the first SCAC swimmer (man or woman) to accomplish that feat in the same meet. She completed the 1,650 free in 17:30.78 – good for a NCAA ‘B’ cut and was followed by the Colorado College duo of Key Macfarland (18.17.06) and Kerren Matthews (18:17.83). In the evening’s final individual swim, Harmon finished in 2:07.74. Jio Chang of Colorado College was second in 2:11.60 and Ivy Claflin of Trinity placed third in 2:15.80.
Jesse Stovall and Rehgan Hartsell both earned their third victories of the championship meet – with Stovall taking first in the 100 free and Hartsell in the 200 breast. Stovall took top honors in a winning time of 51.49 – which was good for a NCAA ‘B’ cut. Trinity swimmers took the next five places in the standings, including all-SCAC swims from Morgen Reyna (51.90) and Star Rosales (53.03). Hartsell also earned a NCAA ‘B’ cut with her winning swim in the 200 breast – touching first in a time of 2:21.86. Kaylin Swoboda of Centenary finished second in 2:27.12 and Emily Erickson of Colorado College was third in 2:30.34.
With three individual wins and two NCAA ‘B’ cuts each, Stovall and Hartsell shared SCAC Women’s Swimmer-of-the-Meet honors. Hartsell won the honor alone last year as a freshman.
Following the meet, the Trinity University staff – led by first-year head coach Scott Trompeter, along with head diving coach Stan Randall, assistant coach John Ryan and assistant coach Kimberly Jones – earned SCAC Women’s Coaching Staff-of-the-Year honors. The award marked the fifth consecutive year the program has been so honored and 11th time overall.