LOS ANGELES — With some of the residue from one of windiest days Eagle Rock's ever seen still left at the bottom of Taylor Pool, the Occidental College men's and women's swimming and diving teams swam on, hosting Cal Lutheran University in a dual meet on Friday.
The day after a wind storm ravished the campus, knocking down power lines, starting a small brush fire and causing a 15-hour blackout that put the competition in doubt, Oxy split with Cal Lu, taking the women's competition and losing the men's.
Mallory Ryan (San Mateo) and Juliet Suess (St. Charles, Ill.) each won two individual events and Ryan swam a leg on the winning 200 medley relay team, pacing the Tigers to a 134-96 victory. Jessica Robson (Elk Grove) carried the diving competition for the Tigers, winning 18 points for the Tigers at the Rose Bowl.
Ryan won the 200 butterfly (2 minutes, 15.97 seconds) and the 200 free (2:00.4) and Suess took the 50 free (26.41) and the 100 free (56.89).
"The women swam great. Better than I expected actually," Occidental College swimming and diving coach Shea Manning said. "Cal Lu is a really strong team. They're always top tier in the SCIAC so to come in and run the table at the swimming event was great for us."
Ryan and Suess in particular had big days and even started a friendly rivalry in the 200 free when Ryan, not normally a 200 freestyler, edged one of the defending Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champions.
Manning put Ryan in the 200 free earlier this year and she did well, so he entered her in the race again Friday and it paid off.
"He was like, 'Mallory I'm putting you in the 200 free and you guys are going to race and finish at the same time again,'" Ryan said. "So it's funny it worked out again."
Suess was happy for her teammate, but playfully reluctant to let Ryan be the leader in that event at the next race.
"Mallory and I have always pushed each other. … We bring out something in each other," Suess said. "It was kind of disappointing to be the second one to finish today, but next time I'll get her."
Caroline Chang (Lisle, Ill.) picked up a win for the Tigers in the 200 IM (2:18.72) and Emily Watkins (Palo Alto) won the 200 breast (2:34.82), rounding out Oxy's individual winners.
Between Chang, Suess and Ryan, Oxy has three of the better swimmers in the SCIAC who could be among the leaders frequently this year.
"You come in expecting. You know that they're successful athlete and that they have something special about them," Manning said. "Now that they have experience under their belt, we really look for them to be leaders and really trail blaze this program, especially with such a young core."
The Tigers are back in the pool tomorrow at the Bulldog Invite, hosted by the University of Redlands tomorrow, trying to capitalize on their win over the Regals.
"I think it gives us a little momentum going in to tomorrow especially cause Redlands is a tough competitor," Ryan said. "I'm hoping that it will push us to win tomorrow going into winter break."
The Tigers edged Cal Lu in the 200 medley relay by 0.3 seconds in what was arguably the most exciting finish of the day, but couldn't sustain that success throughout the rest of the meet. Cal Lu beat Oxy 145-89.
Oxy's Zach Condon (Newbury Park), Steven Van Deventer (Naperville, Ill.), Ben Sullivan (La Canada) and Stephen Ratkovich (Castle Rock, Colo.) combined to finish the race in 1:41.96, just beating the Kingsmen (1:42.13).
Despite dropping the overall competition, Manning was encouraged with the effort his men's team gave, particularly in that race.
"We had a great start to the meet with a 200 medley relay that I was really proud of," Manning said. "They fought like crazy on that race and were able to squeak out a victory there.
Van Deventer, Ratkovich and Sullivan each notched individual wins on the day—Van Deventer in the 200 breast (2:14.36), Ratkovich in the 50 free (22.95) and Sullivan in the 200 fly (2:08.75).
Over the course of the rest of the competition though, Oxy as a unit just couldn't keep up with a solid Kingsmen team.
"Right now Cal Lu's just a better team than us," Manning said. "All I can ask for is the kind of effort that was in the that 200 medley relay and that everyone else put in throughout the meet as well."
NEXT MEET: Saturday, at Redlands, 10:30 a.m.