LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Feb 24, 2007) - For the past five months, the Occidental swimming and diving team trained everyday - rain or shine, hot or cold, usually twice a day- with one goal in mind: the SCIAC championships Feb. 15-17 in Cerritos, Calif.
The Tigers claimed five SCIAC titles, saw 11 athletes named All-SCIAC, set four new school records, and qualified three team members for the Men's NCAA Division III Championships March 15-17 in Houston, Texas.
The Occidental men finished a solid third while the women placed fifth, a one-spot drop from last season.
"We swam our hearts out," said veteran head coach Peggy Carl. "The women were ahead of Pomona-Pitzer until the halfway point. We simply had too much injury and illness on the women's side this season to not have it affect us in the final outcome. We didn't have enough horses when it mattered most."
Dickson Fai '08 won his third straight SCIAC title with a 52.40 in the 100 backstroke, two seconds slower than his school record of 50.45 but still fast enough to surpass the NCAA "B" qualifying standard by about four-tenths of a second.
Fai eclipsed the "B" qualifying standard in the 200 backstroke by exactly one second with a conference title-winning time of 1:53.69. Fai's 100 backstroke time is currently the 13th fastest in Division III.
Three more SCIAC titles came by narrow margins. With a team of Fai, Jeff Oakley '07, Matt Harter '09, and Adam Kantor '10, Occidental defended its title in the 200 medley relay, edging Claremont-Mudd-Scripps by a dental floss-thin margin of thirteen-one hundredths of a second. The Tigers' time of 1:35.53 betters last years' school record by almost a half second and was just four tenths of a second shy of the NCAA "B" qualifying standard.
The men's 1m and 3m diving competitions were a showcase for Occidental's diving twins, Jon '08 and Robert Dohring ‘08. Jon bested Robert, a 2006 All-American, by half a point on the one-meter board and held off Mark Emanuel of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on the three-meter.
Jon Dohring's point total on the 3m board (538.25) ranks first in NCAA Division III with Robert currently seventh. The duo are seventh and eighth in the one-meter dive.
Eleven Tigers earned All-SCIAC honors with a top three finish. Chloe Thulstrup '10 established a new school record in the women's 1000 freestyle en route to a second-place time of 17:58.01 in the 1650. She placed third in the 500 freestyle with a 5:17.71.
Celeste Faber '09 earned All-SCIAC recognition for the second time in two seasons with second-place finishes on both the 1m and 3m diving boards. Faber notched a score of 340.65, just two points out of first, in the 1m competition and 334.40 in the 3m, six behind Redlands' Laura Heminger.
The 200 freestyle relay of MacKenzie Hansler ‘10, Cameron Carlson ‘10, Sean Inoue '09, and Kantor placed third and Fai teamed with Kantor, Carlson, and Inoue for a third place finish in the 400 freestyle relay. The Oxy men finished third or better in all but two relay events.
Harter, a member of the conference champion 200 medley relay, also finished third in the 100 butterfly.
"Given that we're not losing any of the women to graduation, I have high hopes for next year," concluded Carl. "On the men's side, there could be as many as seven SCIAC representatives at Nationals with three from Occidental. We'll find out for sure March 2."