Red and purple jerseys accompanied the singsong of cheering voices that echoed off the azure waters of Kenyon’s pool on Saturday.
The Jim A. Steen Aquatics Center was abuzz as the Lords and Ladies of Kenyon’s swimming and diving program took on long-standing rival Denison in a home meet. The Lords beat the Big Red 196-104, while the Ladies lost 150.5-149.5.
Leading the men’s team was Ryan Funk ’16, who finished first in both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly events, and also swam legs on the first-place 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relay teams.
“I had one of the better dual meets I’ve had at Kenyon,” said Funk, who was named North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) swimmer of the week for his performance. “You can see that across the board.”
The Lords won a total of 13 events at the meet, including 10 individual top finishes, while Dension went home with the top two men’s diving spots and the top 200-yard backstroke finish.
On the Ladies’ side, Saturday’s meet ended in a narrow loss. After a day of strong swims, diver Maria Zarka’s ’16 score was wrongly entered, resulting in a disappointing 15-point loss for the team. Head Coach Jess Book ’01 wrote in an email to the Collegian that Zarka’s score “was entered as 2.76, which moved her to last.”
Though the records have since been corrected to reflect Zarka’s score of 276, the Ladies still ended up placing a point behind the Big Red. “We lost a close meet,” Book wrote.
Swimmers like Mariah Williamson ’16 agree. “It would be nice to say they got off on a technicality,” Williamson said, “but it doesn’t matter in the end.”
Williamson led the Ladies with a win in the 1,000-yard freestyle and a second-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle event. Other wins included the 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke and 400-yard individual medley, by first years Abby Wilson, Caitlyn Foley and Marysol Arce, respectively.
“It can be a little scary sometimes,” Williamson said, noting the competition represented the first real meet for many first years. “I think we did a good job of staying cool.”
On the dive team, Zarka was joined by five new divers, including four first years — all of whom, aside from Zarka, were trumped by Denison.
Andy Scott, who has been Kenyon’s diving coach for five seasons, noted the weekend’s meet marked a time of growth for the team.
At a recent meet at The Ohio State University, Scott handed his divers acorns, telling them that with time they, too, would blossom into something amazing. After this meet, he said, the acorns are starting to sprout. “I’m seeing some seedlings,” Scott said. “So we’ve just got to keep nurturing and I think we’ll be all right.”
Book was also pleased with the final results. “The marching orders were erased,” Book said about the team’s focus. “We hoped to compete to be engaged from the first stroke to the last stroke — and overall, I think we did a very good job of that.”
Now Book hopes to step it up a notch and start focusing on racing more tactically. “That is one of the intricacies of our sport,” Book wrote. “This is merely a fun meet along the way, and I hope it leaves our team hungry for more.”