Oxy Swim Teams Take 3rd at SOKA Invitational

Oxy Swim Teams Take 3rd at SOKA Invitational

ALISO VIEJO – After a week of tough training, the Occidental men and women's swim and dive teams took a combined third place in the Soka Invitational on Saturday.

To open the meet, the 200 medley relay team of Lauren Poppenhagen, Ellie O'Brien, Lianne McKinney, and Maddie Gillman took third place overall. Not wanting to be outdone, the men's relay finished second with a time of 1:41.40 with Chase Mitchell leading off, Cody Hamane, Austin Lashley, and Will Westwater bringing it home for the Tigers.

In the second event of the day, Lizzy Kosin stole the show of her heat, coming in at 2:05.99, an in-season best 200 freestyle for her. Likewise, David Avery broke the 2:00 mark with a 1:59.51, his in-season best time. In his first collegiate 200 freestyle, Eddy Dabsys swam a lifetime best 1:57.72.

Gillman, swimming her first 100 backstroke since high school, was the first Oxy woman to the wall in a time of 1:07.26, followed by her teammates Megan Mundell, Poppenhagen, and Zoe Namba, all swimming under the 1:08 mark.

Westwater and Mitchell squared off in the men's 100 backstroke with Mitchell coming to the wall .01 before his teammate with a time of 59.16.

The two would square off again in the 50 freestyle, but this time it was Westwater out touching Mitchell by .09 for a time of 22.39 with Mitchell and Lashley right behind him in the standings, only .13 separating the three swimmers.

McKinney in her breakout swim of the year finished first for the Tigers in the 100 free with a time of 57.95. Later in the 100 fly, she swam her best split race of the year, finishing at1:03.15.

Lashley in his 100 fly dropped time from last week's La Verne meet, coming in at a 53.75. His butterfly comrade Ben Sappey finished in 56.94 but swam a lifetime best in his 200 fly, coming in at 2:07.72 behind fellow first year Elliot Davis' 2:05.03.

In the final races of the day, Rebeca Fernandez, Namba, Hannah Ash, and Gillman teamed up in the 400 freestyle relay to swim a respectable 3:54.46. Hamane, Lashley, Westwater, and Mitchell again to the starting blocks, this time in the 400 free relay, finishing in second place with impressive backend swims and a time of 3:21.41.

"The hard work and camaraderie that our team displays on a daily basis was reflected in our performances today. There is a focus and group dynamic with these athletes that really encourages a culture of accountability and support that sets up well as we head into the next phase of our season," head coach Tom Iannone said following the meet.

Next Meet: The Tigers take a long break and return to action January 9 at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

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