Men’s Swimming & Diving SCIAC Championship Preview

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The 2011 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships will be hosted by Occidental College Sunday to Tuesday, Feb. 20-22 at the Belmont Olympic Plaza in Long Beach and is sure to be an exciting event.

Entering Championship weekend, the team to beat is the University of Redlands, led by defending Swimmer of the Year Tyler Harp. The Bulldogs posted a 7-0 record during the dual season ahead of defending SCIAC Champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (6-1). The Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 24 in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Division III rankings.

Seeded third entering the weekend is Pomona-Pitzer (5-2) followed by Cal Lutheran University (4-3), the University of La Verne (3-4), Occidental College (2-5), Whittier College (1-6), and rounding out the top eight is Caltech (0-7).

For the most in depth coverage, please see below for Day-by-day and event-by-event previews. The complete psych sheet can be found here.

Day 1 – Sunday

200 Free Relay
Stepping up on the blocks for the first relay, seeded to hit the wall first is Redlands (1:27.43) with CMS (1:28.17) and Cal Lutheran (1:28.93) right on their heels, all having a shot at the top of the podium.

500 Freestyle
In the first individual event of the meet, defending SCIAC champion and 2010 National qualifier Alexander Alders (UR) holds a significantly faster time than his closest opponent at 4:43.45. With a time differential of less than seven seconds the next six swimmers have a shot at the podium. The next trio of swimmers will push the pace as UR teammates Patrick Wall (4:56.51) and Callum Orr (4:59.15) as well as the Stags’ Nick Ostreim (4:57.36) all enter with sub-five minute times. The final quartet of Jeff McNerney (CMS), J.P. Cumming (PP), Ryan Higgins (PP) and Sean Smith (CMS) could all potentially move up in the finals.

200 Individual Medley
The No. 1 seed is Redlands’ sophomore Christopher Depew with a time of 1:53.92, an NCAA “B” cut, followed by teammate and 2010 SCIAC and NCAA Division III National Champion Collin Gladys, who enters the meet with a season best time of 1:58.02. Last year, Gladys set a meet record with a time of 1:49.53. The only other swimmer under 2:00 is Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ Vincent Pai (1:58.56). CLU’s Conrad Sheffer (2:00.02), CMS’s Austin Hallett (2:00.18) and ULV’s Marc Okimura (2:00.91) will push one another to the wall. Also diving in for the 200 IM will be David Ortyn (UR) and Mark Wilson (ULV).

50 Freestyle
In the fastest race of the meet, the field is packed, led by junior returning Conference champion Tyler Harp (UR) with a time of 20.74, which is an NCAA “B” cut. Last year’s runner-up Max Scholten (PP) is seeded second with a time of 21.73. Whittier’s Christopher Evans is also under the 22 second mark with a seed time of 21.99. The next five swimmers are all within 12 hundredths of a second  with UR’s Matt Zaggy (22.03), and CMS’s Devin Bowers (22.07) followed by Brent Reed (UR – 22.12), Sean Fitzgerald (CMS - 22.14) and Nikolai Paloni (UR – 22.15).

400 Medley Relay
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is the favorite by over three seconds with a time of 3:31.34. Redlands is next in line with a combined score of 3:34.52. Rounding out the top three in the event will be Pomona-Pitzer at 3:40.35.

One-Meter Diving
As the only diver to surpass the 400-point plateau mark at Diving Preliminaries hosted last weekend by Pomona-Pitzer was Whittier’s Tyler Aisner. The third place finisher a year ago, scored a 403.55 on his 11-dive list, averaging an 8.3 on his inward piked dive, receiving a pair of 9.0’s. Another Tyler, Tyler Oy, locked up the No. 2 seed with a total of 378.50. The 2010 runner-up, Justin Johnson, from Caltech earned a 376.00 and the No. 3 seed entering finals. Locking up the final spot in finals is the defending one-meter diving champion, Andrew Fevery from CMS who scored a 357.85 at prelims. Rounding out the divers on day one are Eli Niebuhr (UR), Garrett Smith (CMS), Jake Tittl (ULV) and Adam Gray (ULV).

Day 2 – Monday

200 Medley Relay
In what is sure to be a battle in the pool between the two Maroon laden teams, UR holds a slight edge with seed time of 1:38.05 while CMS is entering the day with a 1:38.47. The Sagehens, with a time of 1:40.40 are the favorite for the third spot.

400 Individual Medley
Christopher Depew
is once again a heavy favorite as the reigning SCIAC champion holds the top spot with a time of 4:04.75 (NCAA “B” cut), which is over 13 seconds ahead of second seeded Conrad Sheffer (4:18.26) from Cal Lutheran. The 2010 runner-up, Jordan Lieberman (CMS) enters his second SCIAC Championship with a time of 4:20.34 just ahead of David Ortyn (UR - 4:22.32). Rounding out the field will be Mark Wilson (ULV), Jeffrey Parsons (UR), Robert Macy (UR) and J.P. Cumming (PP).

100 Butterfly
A close field is led by Collin Gladys (UR) with a time of 52.55, ahead of a pair of Stags’ in Jordan Lieberman and Brendan Huss holding times of 52.75 and 53.00, respectively. The middle of the pack is tight with Pomona-Pitzer’s Tommy DePaoli (53.78) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ Devin Bowers (53.82) separated by less than a tenth of a second. The final three are also going to battle in a close race with Brent Reed (UR – 54.57), Kyle Eckhart (CLU – 54.65) and Jon Rye (CLU – 54.85).

200 Freestyle
All-American and 2010 champion Tyler Harp hit an NCAA “A” cut earlier this winter with a swim of 1:39.08, which is more than six seconds ahead of the second fastest swimmer. In a heated competition for second place will likely be Jeff McNerney (CMS) and Alexander Alders (UR) with times of 1:45.06 and 1:45.54, respectively. Grant East from Cal Lutheran enters with a 1:47.94 ahead of Chris Wright from Pomona-Pitzer in 1:48.87 and Steven Zarian from Redlands’ with a time of 1:49.09. Ryan Higgins (PP) 1:49.72 and Sean Smith (CMS) 1:50.06 wrap-up the top swimmers.

100 Breaststroke
In what could be considered the premier event of the weekend, two swimmer are seeded under a minute. Vincent Pai, the 2009 event champion is back in the pool for CMS after being sidelined in 2010, and Marc Okimura (ULV) come in with times of 58.76 and 58.97, respectively. The battle for the title will not end there as 2010 SCIAC champion Collin Gladys (UR) and 2010 runner-up Brad Perfect (CMS) are entered in the race as well. Gladys enters with a 1:00.21 with Perfect swimming a 1:00.54. A young group will be featured in the race as well. Freshman Bo Lee (CMS) holds a time of 1:02.30 followed by sophomore Scott Jones (ULV) in 1:02.57 with freshman Anthony Nguyen (CLU) clocking in with a 1:02.90. Rounding out the field is another first year swimmer in Clint Freeman (UR) with a 1:03.00.

100 Backstroke
Featuring the Meet and SCIAC record holder Max Scholten from Pomona-Pitzer as well as the second and third place finishers from a year ago, this is sure to be an exciting race. Scholten swam a 50.35 at the 2010 Championships and enters this season’s finals with a time of 52.07. Blake Weber from CMS (third in 2010) is seeded second at 53.54. A pair of sophomores in Chris Evans (WC) and Jordan Lieberman (CMS) are close in the field with swims of 54.65 and 54.99, respectively. Senior Nick Ostreim will look to end his career on a high note, entering with a time of 55.04, just ahead of 2010 runner-up Austin Hallett from CMS who has a current time of 55.28. Peter Buhler will represent Caltech with a seed time of 55.32 as CMS’s Brendan Huss (56.16) rounds out the field.   

800 Freestyle Relay
A heavy favorite in the final race of day two is the University of Redlands. The Bulldogs combined to swim the relay in 7:02.32 earlier this season. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will likely be second to the wall with a seed time of 7:13.10 with Pomona-Pitzer (7:18.92) rounding out the field.

Three-Meter Diving
Sophomore reigning 2010 three-meter diving champion Andrew Fevery returns to Belmont Plaza exactly where he finished last winter, as the No. 1 seed, after scoring a  417.40 at Pomona-Pitzer last weekend. Junior Justin Johnson from Caltech qualified for finals with the second highest score a week ago, recording a 379.80, followed by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps senior Garrett Smith who tallied a 373.15. The final five divers on the three meter boards will be Wade Hann-Caruthers (CIT), Drake Escrofani (CMS), Adam Gray (ULV), Tyler Oe (PP) and Drake Hunter (CLU).

Day 3 – Tuesday

1650 Freestyle
The mile will kick off day three of competition with UR senior Alexander Alders as the clear favorite with almost a 50 second lead at 16:18.59 as he looks to defend his title. Next in line is teammate Patrick Wall with a time of 17:08.16, ten seconds ahead of J.P. Cummings from Pomona-Pitzer who holds a time of 17:18.93. A close group will swim in the middle of the pack as Collum Orr (UR – 17:28.45), Jack Butcher (Oxy – 17:28.80) and Jake Kaija (CLU – 17:30.46) are all within two seconds of one another. Rounding out the field of mile swimmers is Greg Heinicke (UR – 17:44.87) and Sean Smith (CMS – 17:49.28) as they are the final swimmers seeded under 18 minutes.

200 Backstroke
The top three finishers in this event a year ago return to the blocks in 2011 with Meet and SCIAC record holder Max Scholten (PP) again holding the top seed with a 1:56.96. Senior and 2010 runner-up Nick Ostreim (CMS) is the only other sub-two minute swimmer entered in the event with a 1:58.38. Stags’ teammates Austin Hallett and 2010 third place finisher Blake Weber will also battle for a place on the podium with respective times of 2:00.73 and 2:01.88. Pomona-Pitzer’s Joe LaBriola (2:03.69), Redlands’ Benjamin Ballard (2:03.94), and Mike Reilly (2:04.01) will push each other to the wall. Mark Wilson (2:05.97) finalizes the field representing La Verne.

100 Freestyle
With another NCAA “B” cut, Redlands’ Tyler Harp leads the pack with a 45.44, more than two seconds ahead of his closest competition as the top seed. Grant East (CLU) and Devin Bowers (CMS) are within five hundredths of a second of one another with times of 48.03 and 48.07, respectively. CMS’s Jeff McNerney (48.32) is joined by a trio of Bulldogs, Matthew Zaggy (48.62), Clint Freeman (48.67) and Quinn Curl (48.99) with CLU’s Jon Rye (48.93) rounding out the field as the seventh seed.

200 Breaststroke
Returning to the pool after scratching the event at the 2010 SCIAC Championships, 2010 season, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ junior and 2009 SCIAC champion, Vincent Pai, returns to the top of the seeding with an NCAA “B” cut time of 2:06.66. A pair of freshmen are the No.2 and No. 3 seeds with the Leopards’ Marc Okimura (2:08.59) holding more than a five second lead over Cal Lutheran’s Conrad Sheffer (2:13.21). The 2010 runner-up, Brad Perfect, is the fourth seed for CMS with a time of 2:15.58. Teammate Bo Lee (2:16.19) is next followed by Patrick Roth from UR with a 2:18.68. The final two swimmers for the race will be Scott Jones (ULV) and Anthony Nguyen (CLU). Despite being seeded 26th in the event, not having swum it during the season, the defending SCIAC champion Collin Gladys is entered in the event as well and could rattle the standings.  

200 Butterfly
The last individual event of the meet has sophomore Christopher Depew seeded atop the field with his third current NCAA “B” cut time of 1:53.51. The second fastest time of the season, 1:56.62, belongs to CMS’s Brendan Huss. After finishing third for CMS at the 2010 championships, Jordan Lieberman holds the No. 3 seed with a 1:58.32, joined by teammate Brian Nadler (1:59.90) as the final swimmer under the two minute mark. David Ortyn (UR) is not far behind at 2:01.25. The next three swimmers are within 24 hundreths of a second of one another with Devin Bowers swimming for CMS at 2:02.16 just ahead of a pair of Sagehens. Erik Peterson is seeded at 2:02.33 with the 2010 runner-up Chris Wright locking up the eighth spot with a 2:02.50.

400 Free Relay
In the final event of the 2011 SCIAC Championship meet, Redlands is once again a favorite, having swum a 3:11.64 earlier this winter. Trying to catch the Bulldogs will be the Stags (3:12.94) and the Kingsmen (3:16.77).

Article by Tracy Maple, Sports Information Director