Everyone loves a good rivalry, and there’s nothing quite like the supposed underdogs coming out on top to make the night more lively. DePauw and Wabash – both part of the North Coast Athletic Conference – have had an ongoing rivalry, but this is the first time since 2006 where Wabash has come out on top in the pool.
On Halloween night multiple pool, school and meet records fell as Wabash’s men swam to a 162-129 victory over their arch rivals. (The tone of this upset is also echoed in the CollegeSwimming.com rankings which were released earlier this week, placing DePauw at seventh and Wabash at seventeenth.)
After an interview with Wabash senior Stephen Batchelder where he said the team needed to learn how to step up on big occasions, it seems the Little Giants have made a step in the right direction.
The evening opened auspiciously with a record setting effort in the 400 medley relay. The quartet of Jake Childress, Zechariah Banks, Carter Adams and Elliot Johns put together a 3:27.63 effort to break both the pool (set by University of Indianapolis in 2013) and meet (set by DePauw in 2013) records. The runner up DePauw squad was also under both marks.
In the 1000 freestyle, Wabash’s Jack Belford continued with the momentum, touching in at 9:43.34 to drop the pool record set in 2008 by Baris Ilhan. More than ten seconds behind was DePauw’s Kurt Swieter in second place, followed by teammate Jordan Bantista in third.
Elliot Johns posted a 1:43.67 to take the victory for Wabash in the 200 freestyle, touching in just .01 off the meet record set in 2001. In second and third were DePauw’s Alex Grissom and Stephen McMurtry.
Despite missing the record in the 200, Wabash’s men got back in gear and dropped another meet record in the 100 backstroke. Childress – part of the winning 400 medley relay – posted a 52.64 to take down RJ Morgan’s meet record from 2001. He was followed into the wall by Casey Hooker of DePauw and Josh McCabe from Wabash. In the 200 backstroke, Childress also secured another victory, albeit not in record setting time.
Another member of the record-setting 400 medley relay earned his own record in the following event: Banks took down the 100 breaststroke meet record set in 2000 by Jon-Myckle Price by stopping the clock at 57.89. He went 1-2 with teammate Josh Bleisch. Mitchell Daivs of DePauw took third. Later, Banks went on to take down the meet record in the 200 breaststroke as well putting up a 2:06.93 to best Joe McDowell’s record set in 2000.
With a significant point advantage already in place after having won so many events, Wabash continued to step it up, posting a 1-2 finishes in both the 200 butterfly (Adams in first, Jack Belford second) and 200 IM (Adams, Banks), a 1-2-3 sweep in the 200 backstroke (Childress, Aaron Troyer, McCabe) and another 1-2-3 finish in the 200 breaststroke (Banks, Bleisch, Batchelder).
DePauw did not go down without a struggle, or without claiming some meet records themselves. Hooker – who owned a number of meet records prior to the meet – was victorious in the 500 freestyle, resetting a meet record he already owned from 2011. Hooker’s final time was 4:39.75. Second was Wabash’s Belford and Swieter of DePauw finished third.
Hooker also swam the lead off leg on the victorious 200 freestyle relay finishing out the meet. He was joined by Blake Lehmann, Brandon Sholtis and Swieter in the 1:25.56 effort.
Other athletes also stepped up, including Alex Alfonso who won the 50 and 100 freestyles and Lehmann who held out for the victory in the 100 butterfly. Eric Addy also had two individual victories, taking the win in both 1 and 3 meter diving.
For full meet results, click here. Wabash will be back in the water Saturday, November 8th at Rose-Hulman in a double-dual meet with the Fighting Engineers and Manchester University. DePauw’s next competition is Friday, November 7th at the University of Indianapolis.