By Alex Pijanowski | Staff Writer
The Kenyon Ladies swimming and diving teams closed the door on their regular season this past weekend, taking on conference competition in two meets. On Friday, Jan. 31, they defeated Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) 135-85, and the following day took down Wittenberg University (WU) 145-84.
Rachel Flinn ’14 said the meets this weekend were poignant because they represented the last time this year’s seniors will swim in a dual meet at their home pool.
“It was bittersweet that it was our last home meet, but it was very joyous, and all of our parents were here, so I enjoyed it,” Flinn said. “Stepping up on the blocks for our last relay — we did a [senior] class relay — was a nice way to end it.”
Flinn made certain her final competition at home would be memorable by winning the 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard freestyle against OWU, and contributing to an unscored 400-yard freestyle relay team alongside Jenner McLeod ’17, Kelsey McMurtry ’14 and Laura Duncan ’17.
Excellent performances also came from Mariah Williamson ’16, who won the 200-yard butterfly on Friday night and the 1,000-yard freestyle on Saturday. Katie Kaestner ’16 earned first place finishes in several relays, including in the 400-yard freestyle relay alongside Megan Morris ’16, Haley Townsend ’16 and Hillary Yarosh ’14, and in the 200-yard medley relay with Townsend, Natalie Parker ’16 and Morris. Individually, Kaestner won the 50-yard freestyle against OWU and the 100-yard butterfly against WU, neither of which are her main events. Celia Oberholzer ’15 also won the 100-yard backstroke — an event for which she already holds the school record — in the WU meet.
On the diving board, Maria Zarka ’16 continued to excel at the pace she has maintained all season long — her three-meter diving score against WU (267.23) was more than double that of the next-closest competitor. Zarka swept diving by winning the one-meter event and the three-meter event in both competitions. Teammate Megan Remillard ’16 was second in one-meter and three-meter diving against OWU.
With the regular season behind them, the team must now begin preparing for the final portion of the season, which has been the ultimate goal of training for several months.
“This is the fun part [of the season], the part that we get ready for all year long,” Head Coach Jess Book ’01 said. “One of the unique aspects of our sport is that we spend so much of our season under a heavy level of fatigue that we’re unable to do our absolute best. This is about the time we can do that, so that’s why it’s fun.”
Flinn, now that she has three years of postseason swimming experience under her belt, said she would advise her younger teammates to “just to take it day by day, and not to get wrapped up in the whole process.”
The North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) championships will be held Feb. 12 to 15 in Granville, Ohio, hosted by perennial rival Denison University. The Ladies lost to Denison in their dual meet in November, and many team members are eager to avenge the earlier loss to the Big Red.
“Our line-up for conference is going to be really competitive, and it will be good to go up against Denison with our full team, which we didn’t have for the dual meet,” Flinn said. “We’re all really excited about that.”