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Lords, Ladies swimming start season at Kenyon Relays

Lords, Ladies swimming start season at Kenyon Relays

By Alex Pjinowski

Kenyon men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs began their season on Saturday, Oct. 19 in the Kenyon College Relay Meet hosted at the Kenyon Aquatic Center. The Lords finished in first place, with a total team score of 120 points, and the Ladies finished just two points behind rival Denison University for a second-place finish, with a team score of 112 points.

Though the meet represented the first chance for the Lords and Ladies to compete this season, much of the meet consisted of events which the team will not encounter during the regular season; of the eight different relays in the meet, only two ラ the 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay ラ are events in a standard college meet. The other events included a 200-yard relay of each of the four strokes ラ backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle ラ and a 500-yard crescendo relay, in which each member of the relay swims 50 yards more than the person before them. Despite its unorthodox format, swimmers said the meet was still a helpful exercise.

“[The Relay Meet] is nice to start the season off because it’s a good way to start racing without having all the pressure on [oneself] totally,” Rachel Flinn ’14 said. “The most important part of the relay meet in this beginning part of the season is getting to know our teammates well. Everybody’s working together toward a common goal.”

Head Coach Jess Book ’01 is coming off a season in which he won both the NCAA Men’s Coach of the Year Award and Women’s Coach of the Year Award, and guided both programs to first and second place finishes, respectively, at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Division III Championship in March. Book is the first coach in Division III history to have won both honors in the same season; last season was also his first serving as head coach of both the men’s and the women’s program.

Book said he was pleased overall with Kenyon’s effort this weekend. He reminded the team, though, that “there is still work that needs to be done,” and that the next three weeks of training will be critical to ensuring the team’s success in the later part of the season.

“We want to be the best team that we can be, and that’s really what we’re focusing on,” Book said. “I think that we can be a very competitive team this year, but we’ve got a long ways to go, and a lot of work to do.”

Ryan Funk ’16 earned the North Coast Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week Award on Monday, the first such accolade that he has received in his collegiate career. Funk was a part of three first-place relays and one second-place relay.

“I remember last year as a freshman, watching some of the upperclassmen stepping up, and they were getting those honors every other week,” Funk said. “The NCAC is one of the most talented Division III conferences in the nation.”

It is just the beginning of a long season that will stretch until the National Championships in March.

“[Competition and training this early in the season is] really about having fun and getting used to racing again. It’s all about what happens in March ラ once we get there ラ and whichever team swims better will hopefully get the title,” Andrew Chevalier ム14, who set the school record for the 400-yard individual medley last year, said. “[The team’s focus is] swimming as fast as we can and performing as well as we can, and just having the best season that we can.”

The Lords and Ladies will next compete on Friday, Oct. 25 in a dual meet against The Ohio State University in Columbus.

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