By Anna Dunlavey
The men’s swimming and diving team had their final two dual meets of the season this past weekend and, as usual, they blew their North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) competition out of the water. The Lords won Friday’s meet at Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) 185-29, and a day later, won a home meet against Wittenberg University 247-53.
This weekend’s meets came at a bit of a transition period for the team. Some team members are beginning to rest for the NCAC Championships — which begin next week at Denison University — and others are still trying to swim their fastest to qualify for the upcoming National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships in March.
“At this time, we’re all doing different things because we’re preparing for different meets,” Austin Caldwell ’15 said. His teammate Kevin Magee ’15 agreed. “There were some really fast swims, and then there were some not-so-fast swims but good technique swims, good strategy swims, that are setting ourselves up well for Conference,” Magee said.
The Lords won all 11 of their races on Friday at OWU, including nine individual wins and two relay wins. The meet began with the 400-yard medley relay and ended with the 400-yard freestyle relay. The medley relay team, composed of Harrison Curley ’15, Nicholas Gutsche ’17, Ryan Carson ’17 and Ryan Funk ’16 won with a time of 3:31.66. Carson would go on to win the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 24.49 later in the meet.
The freestyle relay team that took top honors consisted of Joey Duronio ’16, Austin Pu ’17, Wes Manz ’15 and Caldwell. Manz and Caldwell also performed well in the individual events. Manz scored an individual victory in the 50-yard butterfly, finishing at 22.71. Caldwell landed two first-place finishes, one in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.67 and the other in 100-yard freestyle with 45.25.
Alex Seaver ’17, Arthur Conover ’17 and Joe Guilfoyle ’15 finished first in the meet’s other freestyle events. Conover took the top spot in the 200-yard freestyle at 1:43.22, Seaver touched the wall first in the 1,000-yard freestyle at 9:46.92 and Guilfoyle won the 500-yard freestyle at 4:42.30
In other strokes, Ian Reardon ’17 was first in the 100-yard individual medley at 53.59 and Daniel Jurgens ’16 won the 50-yard breaststroke at 27.12.
There were five more races for a total of 16 in Saturday’s home meet against Wittenberg, but the Lords still swept them all. Saturday, marking the last home dual meet of the year, was also Senior Day. The contributions of the nine senior Lords were celebrated, and three of those seniors earned individual victories.
Curley won the 200-yard butterfly at 1:54.49, and Magee won the 100-yard backstroke at 52.85. Magee said that the idea of his time with the Lords coming to an end has not quite resonated with him yet. “It doesn’t feel like anything just yet,” he said. “It feels like the regular part of the season. It feels like one more step we’ve completed, and we’re now moving onto the next step.”
Caldwell won the 100-yard freestyle for the second time in two days, this time finishing at 45.37. He also won the 200-yard freestyle at 1:40.14. Caldwell’s two wins in four days helped him on his way to earning his second NCAC Athlete of the Week honor this season. “I was kind of surprised,” Caldwell said. “It’s fun.”
Conover, Friday’s top 200-yard freestyler, swam the 500-yard and 1,000-yard freestyle events on Saturday, winning both with times of 4:42.28 and 9:34.76, respectively. Trevor Manz ’17 also had two victories on Saturday. Manz won both the 200-yard breaststroke, finishing at 2:07.86, and the 200-yard individual medley, finishing at 1:54.10.
Magee, Manz, Funk and Caldwell were the top-finishing 200-yard medley relay team with a time of 1:32.48. Funk returned to the relays at the end of the meet to compete in the winning 200-yard freestyle relay, along with Duronio, Jurgens and Percy Gates ’16. The team finished with a time of 1:24.91.
“I think that we’ve had consistently good relays this year, which didn’t happen last year,” Caldwell said.
The Lords do have one more home meet, the Fast Chance Invitational on Feb. 21. For individual Lords, this will be the last chance to qualify for the NCAA championships.