Oxy swim teams earn non-conference victories

Oxy swim teams earn non-conference victories

LOS ANGELES — The Occidental College men's and women's swim teams combined their depth with some strong individual performances to pick up victories in a non-conference dual meet against Lewis and Clark University at Taylor Pool on Monday.

The men's team posted a 170-92 victory led by William Westwater (Columbus, Ohio) and Steven van Deventer (Naperville, Ill.). 

Both swimmers picked up four first-place finishes each. Westwater captured three individual wins (50 freestyle, 50 backstroke, and 100 freestyle) and van Deventer took home wins in the 50- and 100-yard breaststroke. They were also part of Oxy's winning 200 medley relay team and van Deventer added a win as part of Oxy's 200 free relay.

Westwater was pleased with both his individual performance and the direction the team is heading. "It's fun to get closer to my late season times, it's a big confidence builder," the freshman said. "We still have a long haul in front of us, but we're moving in a good direction."

Oxy head coach Shea Manning agreed, adding that he was pleased with the team's continued improvement.

"We were a little rusty last time out, but we looked much sharper today. We just need to take things one day at time."

Additional individual event winners for the men included Jack Sinclair (Alhambra) in the 200 free, Alexander Najarian (Glendale) in the 500 free, and Sam Akiyama (Aptos) in the 100 individual medley.

The women were equally impressive in their 168-94 victory. Both Caroline Chang (Lisle, Ill.) and Rebeca Fernandez (Eagle Rock) picked up multiple individual wins today.

Chang picked up first place finishes in 50 breast and 100 IM as well as swimming a leg on Oxy's winning 200 medley relay team.

Fernandez once again paced the Tigers in the distance events with victories in the 1000 and 500 free.

"I know I can do a lot better, but for this time of the season, it's nice to get a couple wins," Fernandez said. 

Juliet Suess (St. Charles, Ill.), Lizzy Kosin (LaGrange Park, Ill.), Lauren Ransom (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Emily Watkins (Palo Alto) each came away with individual wins in 200 free, 100 fly, 100 free and 100 breast, respectively.

Both teams are in the midst of intense winter break training, which can make competition during this time of the year challenging, but the Tigers are relying on each other to push forward. "This is the closest team I've ever been a part of," said Fernandez. "That's what makes it all worthwhile. We're such a close-knit team that it enables us to push each other to do better."

Oxy returns to SCIAC competition with a Double Dual against Pomona-Pitzer and La Verne on Jan. 12 at Pomona College.