Section: Sports

Swimming places second at Total Performance Invitational

Swimming places second at Total Performance Invitational

By Alex Pijanowski

For one weekend in December, the Total Performance Invitational brings a big-meet atmosphere to the Steen Aquatic Center. During the meet, nearly every inch of wall space is blocked by chairs, bleachers or equipment, and the stands are packed.

Both Kenyon teams placed second, behind the Division-I University of Pennsylvania (Penn). Over the course of three days, including preliminary and final rounds, the men’s team compiled 2,462 team points and the women’s team earned 1,574.5 points.

“In my three years here, it was the most exciting mid-season meet we’ve had,” Austin Caldwell ’15 said.

Notably, two Kenyon athletes set three new varsity records. Arthur Conover ’17 finished the 1,000-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle events faster than any other Lord in history. Mariah Williamson’s ’16 time of 16:48.07 set the women’s record in the 1,650.

Neither the Lords nor the Ladies seemed to be fazed by the number of teams (seven) or the caliber of the competition. Kenyon claimed the top spot in both diving events; Maria Zarka ’16 had 463.55 points in the preliminaries and 450.20 in the finals, and Derek Hoare ’17 put up scores of 421.50 and 460.80, respectively. Harrison Curley ’15 won the 200-yard backstroke (1:46.36) by out-touching Penn’s Grant Proctor.

“It’s easy at this time in the season to get ahead of ourselves in thinking about where we can be,” Trevor Manz ’17 said. “But it was a very positive meet for the team, and there were some very fast swims. It was exciting to be racing at that speed.”

One of the prevailing narratives on the team, which continued at the Invitational, has been some strong early-season performance of Manz. Last week, Manz earned the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Athlete of the Week award, and in the 400 IM on Friday, Manz placed ahead of Curley, who last year earned the program’s record in that event. Manz also placed second in the 200 IM (1:49.42) and fifth in the 100 breaststroke (55.29); Curley placed ahead of Manz in that event.

“This meet produced a lot of best times and fast swims,” Jenner McLeod ’17.

Head Coach Jess Book ’01 explained why he likes giving his teams the chance to compete at big meets early in the season.

“In swimming, our seasons build up toward the end,” Book said. “The end is the point that is most important, and what we really do training for all year long. Our meets, in some ways, help simulate those environments, and prepare us for those environments.”

The next step for Kenyon is the Winter Break training trip. While in Sarasota, Fla., the team will engage in an extensive schedule of swim workouts, weight training and team bonding, and compete at an outdoor meet. Their next home meet will be on Jan. 31 against Wittenberg University.


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