Three in a Row for Women, While Men Gain Ground

Three in a Row for Women, While Men Gain Ground

LOS ANGELES — The Occidental College women's swimming and Diving team kicked off their dual-meet season this weekend with a resounding 170-128 victory over the Unviersity of Redlands Bulldogs.  This marks the third consecutive season the Occidental women's team has beaten the Bulldogs, the longest streak in the history of the program. 

The men's team fell 177-110.  One year ago, the Bulldog men pulled out a 125-point victory over the Tigers by winning all but one event.  This season, the Tigers cut that deficit in half and won 4 events across the afternoon. 

Competition began on Friday afternoon at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, where Junior Jessica Robson (Elk Grove) picked up where she left off last season's undefeated campaign.  Her first-place scores of 251.35 on 1-Meter and 262.40 on 3-Meter were less than four points off of the NCAA Regional Qualifying Score. 

The swimmers kicked off events on Saturday morning with a 1-2 finish in the 200 Medley Relay.  The A relay of Caroline Chang (Lisle, IL), Emily Watkins (Palo Alto), Lizzy Kosin (LaGrange Park, IL), and Lauren Ransom (Albuquerque, NM) finished in a time of 1:51.55; the third best in Team History and a Top 25 time in NCAA Division III this season.  The B relay of Lauren Poppenhagen(Wellesley, MA), Gabby Hanna (Seattle, WA), Yuca Kosugi (Boring, OR), and Alena Morris (Maple Valley, WA) came from behind to out-touch Redland's A relay in a time of 1:55.54.  Kosin was the Tiger's leading scorer, winning the 200 Fly (2:14.27), 100 Fly (1:00.76)  and 400 IM (4:49.57) in times that place her 4th, 6th and 6th, respectively in the Program Top Times List.  Kosugi (2:18.11 and 1:03.56) and Morris (2:18.52 and 1:03.20) teamed up with Kosin in each of the Butterfly Events to give OXY a 1-2-3 sweep in both.

Chang (1:06.42), Watkins (1:08.40) and Hanna (1:10.95) provided the team with a 1-2-3 sweep of their own in the 100 Breaststroke—Chang's time was just off of the NCAA B Qualifying Standard.  Hanna (2:32.23) and Watkins (2:32.31) returned later in the meet for another 1-2 finish in the 200 Breaststroke.  Distance Freestyle Specialist, Rebecca Fernandez (Los Angeles) was also a multiple event winner cruising away with the 1000 Freestyle in 11:20.67 and holding off a charging Redlands swimmer to win the 500 Freestyle in 5:29.40.

Sophomore Steven van Deventer (Naperville, IL) led the Tiger men with close victories in the 100 (1:00.63) and 200 (2:13.96) Breaststrokes.  Freshman William Westwater (Columbus, OH) was first in the 200 Backstroke (2:08.45) and he took 2nd in the 100 backstoke (59.02.)   FreshmanAlexander Najarian (Glendale) finished first in the 50 Freestyle in a time of 22.02.  Najarian was also runner-up to Redlands All-American Jeff Depew in the 100 Fly, posting the 8th fastest time in Oxy Program history (53.02).

Other notable swims for the men included Jack Sinclair (South Pasadena) 3rd in the 200 free (1:53.97) and 2nd 100 Free (50.11), Kevin Kuwata (Rolling Hills) 3rd in the 100 Breast (1:02.24) and 200 Breast (2:24.42),  and Spencer Whalen (Bethesda, MD)  3rd in the 500 Free (5:32.82),
The Oxy swimmers and divers will return to action on January 5 to take on Cal Tech.