LONG BEACH, Calif. –An electric environment from the get-go, all of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women’s swimming and diving squads brought their energy to the Belmont Olympic Plaza in Long Beach to begin the 2011 Swimming & Diving Championships.
The clear-cut favorite and current No. 9 College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Division III ranked Athenas of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps opened up nearly a 100 point lead following day one of competition. The seven-time defending SCIAC Champions earned 302.5 points with the University of Redlands pulling up in second, with 210, after the opening day. SCIAC Championships host Occidental College is currently third with 175.5 points to round out the top three. The remainder of the field includes Pomona-Pitzer (98.5), Whittier College (94.5), University of La Verne (67), California Institute of Technology (60), Cal Lutheran University (52).
200 Yard Freestyle Relay
In the first relay of the day, CMS set a new SCIAC record with a swim of 1:34.91, breaking the same record (1:36.05) that the 2010 CMS relay team set at last year’s championships. Jenni Rinker was a part of both of those squads. Rinker was joined by Helen Liu, Kristie Howard and Michele Kee. The University of Redlands’ team comprised of Kathryn Hughes, Casey Sripramong, Kathryn McIntosh and Allie Bollella was second in 1:37.63, out touching the Occidental relay team by just 19 tenths of a second. Oxy’s squad was made up of Juliet Suess, Leah Corby, Mallory Ryan and Lauren Ransom.
Whittier’s Erin Batholomewwho dropped nine seconds off her seed time this morning to come in as the No. 2 swimmer tonight, used the energy from the crowd in the final 50 yards to earn the victory, swimming a 5:02.66. The defending champion, Lauren Zehner (UR), took runner-up recognition this year with a swim of 5:03.05, 11 seconds better than her best swim of the year until today. Rounding out the top-three, swimming for CMS, was Carliann Brashier who went a 5:06.51, shaving three more seconds off her morning swim, which was15 seconds faster than her seed time.
200 Individual Medley
Living up to expectations as the heavy favorite, CMS freshman Michele Kee set two new SCIAC records today in the same event. After earning the new SCIAC and Meet Record time of 2:06.22 in preliminaries, she went on to shed more time, swimming a 2:05.08 to earn the first SCIAC title of her collegiate career. Teammate Tessa Dover swam to a second place finish in 2:08.38 with Occidental’s Mallory Ryan setting a new school record of 2:09.07 for third place. Just out of contention for the podium was defending SCIAC champion, McKenzie Nakamura, who finished in 2:09.47 for UR, placing fourth.
In one of the more exciting races of the evening, which came with a trio of ties, and solid competition throughout, saw CMS senior Jenni Rinker earn the top spot on the podium with a time of 23.93, marking an NCAA cut. The first of three ties in the two heats, consolation and championship finals, a pair of freshman, Helen Liu (CMS) and Haley Von Schottenstein (WC) swam kick-for-kick, tying for second with times of 23.96. The fifth spot was also a stroke-for-stroke race as two more freshmen, Julie Suess (Oxy) and Alex Lincoln (PP) both finished in 24.50. In the consolation heat, Lauren Ransom (Oxy) and Kathryn McIntosh (UR) hit the wall at the same time, going 24.54.
400 Medley Relay
The meet ended with a loud atmosphere, but there was no question who the leader was as CMS cruised to a nine second victory over UR. The CMS group of Tessa Dover, Emma Jones, Katie Bilotti and Michele Kee went a 3:49.29 while the Bulldogs’ quartet of Caitlin Michaels, McKenzie Nakamura, Lauren Zehner and Shirin Sedaghat swam a 3:58.25. Earning the third spot tonight was the Occidental group of Juliet Suess, Caroline Chang, Mallory Ryan and Lauren Ransom with a 3:58.72.
Occidental College took the top two spots, as well as fourth, with freshman Jessica Robson twisting and somersaulting her way to a SCIAC title with a 442.25 followed by senior teammate and 2010 three-meter champion Sarah Sharpe who recorded a 416.00. The third spot was locked up by Carmen Lundell with a 413.90 as all three hit NCAA cuts. Rachel Price was fourth with a 319.45.
For the most in-depth coverage, please see below for Day-by-day and event-by-event previews. The complete psych sheet can be found here.