CLAREMONT — In his first trip back to his old stomping grounds wearing orange and black, Occidental College swimming and diving coach Shea Manning came up empty in his quest to upset his alma mater Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Oxy men fell 235-53 and the women 203-93.
Manning, who swam for CMS from 2003-07 and was an assistant coach at Claremont from 2008-10 before accepting the Oxy head coaching job this past summer, knew it was going to be tough to upset the CMS women, who've won the last nine SCIAC championships, and the CMS men who are also traditionally a SCIAC aquatics power. In many ways, CMS is the model of where Manning would like to take Oxy.
"This program now reminds me a lot of the program I was a part of at CMS. When I look at when I was at CMS and where it is now, it's night and day," Manning said, crediting his former coach Charlie Griffiths with a lot of CMS' success. "(Griffiths) has done a great job of building that program to a top 10 program at nationals every year. That's not where our program is yet."
Though the hope was that both squads would have had a little better showing, there were still some bright spots.
On the women's side, the 400 yard medley relay team of Caroline Chang (Lisle, Ill.), Emily Watkins (Palo Alto), Mallory Ryan (San Mateo) and Lauren Ransom (Albuquerque, NM) posted the third fastest time in Occidental history (4 minutes, 1.44 seconds).
"As far as race strategy, we could have executed better," Manning said. "But there were some shining points which is nice."
Chang was the individual standout on the day for the Tigers winning a pair of events. The sophomore won the 100 breast (1:08.05) and the 200 breast (2:28.25). Ryan won the 200 butterfly (2:14).
In the 400 individual medley, Ryan came up with the third fastest time in school history (4:47.12) and Chang the sixth (4:53.25).
Jessica Robson (Elk Grove) gave Oxy a little hope by taking first in both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving competitions on Friday giving the Tigers a two-point lead, but CMS proved too deep and too talented.
"We ended up winning three events so that was good," Manning said. "Chang won three events which is awesome and Mallory won one but they're just a very deep team."
In maybe the most exciting race of the day on the guy side, Zach Condon (Newbury Park) was just out-touched in the 100 back by .21 seconds, losing the race to CMS' Martin Sartorius.
Oxy freshman Steven Van Deventer, who's emerged as on of the Tigers top swimmers despite being an underclassmen, lost by 1.2 seconds in the 100 breast to Vincent Pai, a SCIAC record holder and top three finisher at the 2011 nationals.
Oxy's Zachary Condon (Newbury Park) was just out-touched in the 100 back by .21 seconds, losing the race to Martin Sartorius.