Men’s and women’s swimming teams win PLU Winter Invitational in Washington

Last weekend, the Trinity men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams placed first in the Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) Invitational held in Seattle, Wash. They competed against PLU, Whitworth University and the University of Puget Sound. Two Tigers received SCAC honors this week: junior Stephen Culberson was selected SCAC Men’s Swimmer of the Week and sophomore Ashley Heline was selected SCAC Women’s Diver of the Week.

The men’s team scored a total of 452.50 points, while second place PLU scored 367.50. Sophomore Andrew Thiesse won two individual events, the 200-yard free style (1:47.75) and the 500-yd freestyle (4:50.58). Culberson also won two individual events, the 50-yd freestyle (21.42) and the 100-yd butterfly (52.52). The men’s team also won two relay races. The team of Culberson, first year Isaac Johnson, sophomore Tom Jones and junior Adam Thomas won the 200-yd medley relay (3:13.56) as well as the 400-yd freestyle relay (3:13.56).

“I think we did very well, considering we were going in as underdogs. We ended up winning the meet, so I think it went really well in that respect,” sophomore Nikita Chirkov said.

Sophomore Jon Hoffman placed first in the 100-yd freestyle (48.44). Senior Lucas Belury placed second in the 500-yd freestyle (4:55.17) and third in the 100-yd butterfly (2:03.52). Thomas placed second in the 50-yd freestyle (21.51) and the 100-yd freestyle (48.64). Senior Arthur Daigh placed second in the 200-yd backstroke (2:02.76). Chirkov placed second in the 200-yd breaststroke (2.15:48). Jones placed second in the 100-yd butterfly (54:28).

The women’s team also took multiple wins in many of the events. They scored 394 points to second place PLU’s 335 points. The relay team of senior Rachel Berude, junior Lydia Jones, junior Sarah Miller and sophomore Leah Selznick placed first in the 400-yd freestyle relay (3:41.90). The team of Jones, sophomore Becca Bond, junior Kelly Holton and senior Megan O’Rell took second in the 200-yd medley relay (1:54.57).

“Our team did pretty well. Since it’s mid-season and we haven’t started tapering, some times weren’t as fast as they are at conference, but that’s pretty normal. I think mainly the thing that we need to work on going into conference is just getting excited to race,” sophomore Kara Beauchamp said.

In individual events, sophomore Kara Beauchamp won two events, the 200-yd breaststroke (2:31.57) and the 200-yd IM (2:17.35). She also placed second in the 200-yd butterfly (2:15.42). Bond took first in the 100-yd backstroke (1:03.46) and third in the 200-yd backstroke (2:17.81). Jones placed first in the 100-yd freestyle (54.31) and second in the 200-yd freestyle (1:57.96). Berude won the 50-yd freestyle (25.38) and senior Melanie Gustafson won the 500-yd freestyle (5:24.13). Holton placed second in the 100-yd breaststroke (1:11.43) and second in the 200-yd breaststroke (2:35.98).

“I thought they did well overall; they stepped up and raced. They could have taken some races out a little bit faster, but overall it was good. We have our conference meet in two weeks and we’re pushing to qualify for nationals,” said head swim coach Michael Schuber.

The teams are now starting a taper, which is the resting period of reduced yardages and lighter practices before a large meet.

“As for the men’s team, we are a little short because we have a few injuries, a few people, who are sick, so on the guys side especially, we are going to train as hard as possible to perform at our maximum effort. It is going to require a great effort from every single person because we are short, but I think we can do it. I think we have very good chances of winning,” Chirkov said.

Both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will compete in the SCAC Championships Feb. 12-15 at Rockwall, TX.