LONG BEACH, Calif. – There was no question about who was going to win the 2011 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships hosted by Occidental College at the Belmont Olympic Plaza. Although four different schools earned victories in five individual events, it was Claremont-Mudd-Scripps who extended their consecutive win-streak to eight years while producing the Swimmer of the Year in freshman Michelle Kee.
CMS combined for 1072.5 points leaving everyone else battling for second. In the end it was the University of Redlands who took second with 695. Occidental posted their best finish in years, with 459.5 points, edging out Pomona-Pitzer who put up 407.5. Whittier College placed fifth with 265.5 closely followed by Cal Lutheran University (244). Rounding out the Championships were the University of La Verne (161) and Caltech (146).
Whittier’s Erin Bartholomew broke her own school record while hitting an NCAA “B” cut with a swim of 17:22.83, winning by more than six seconds. Four hundred yards in Bartholomew led by two seconds and by the 500 yards she had a three second cushion. By the 1000 yard point she Poets’ sophomore led by over six seconds and stretched her advantage to as much as 10 seconds. Current SCIAC record holder Carliann Brashier was second in 17:29.60. Finishing third today was Whitney Dawson in 17:44.16.
After a strong morning swim, the Athenas’ swept the top three spots this evening. Tessa Dover, broke her own Meet Record with a swim of 2:03.07 while meeting an NCAA “A” cut. Jenni Rinker and Elsa Cheng swam side-by-side as they have all season day in and day out finishing in 2:05.56 and 2:06.41, which were both NCAA “B” cuts. Also swimming under the national time was Redlands sophomore Caitlin Michaels who placed fourth in 2:06.93.
Michelle Kee added to her hardware from the weekend, re-writing the record books once again. Not only did she set a new Meet Record, by two hundredths of a second, going a 51.77, which was also an NCAA “B” cut, she broke the CMS school record as well. Junior teammate Emma Jones, the previous owner of the CMS record, swam alongside her teammate to finish second in 52.59, also a “B” cut. SCIAC and former Meet Record holder, Alexandra Bollella hit the wall right behind in 52.81.
Returning to the top of the podium for the second time in as many nights, freshman Caroline Chang broke the Oxy record by four seconds, winning the second title of her career in 2:21.81. Chang along with UR’s McKenzie Nakamura, who swam a 2:23.50, earned NCAA “B” cuts. Representing the third spot, and school, on the award stand was CMS’s Ching Tung who went a 2:25.87.
The final individual event of the weekend was another exciting one with two swimmers earning NCAA “A” cuts. Lauren Zehner defended her title, swimming a 2:05.66 for Redlands. Two school records went down as CMS freshman Annika Jessen swam a 2:06.64, punching a ticket to Nationals, and Mallory Ryan took three seconds off her Occidental record, going a 2:08.83.
400 Freestyle Relay
Jenni Rinker led off a relay for CMS that broke a school, SCIAC and Meet Record while earning a trip to Nationals with an “A” cut. Following Rinker were Helen Liu and Emma Jones before Michelle Kee solidified the victory and locked down the records in 3:27.43 to win by six seconds. The Bulldogs’ quartet of Kathryn McIntosh, Casey Sripamong, Alexandra Bollella and Lauren Zehner, coming right off her 200 fly victory, swam a 3:33.35 for second. Pomona-Pitzer earned the third spot on the podium as Alex Lincoln, Morgan Ingemanson, Charolette Dohrn and Kristen Lindbergh went a 3:35.74.
Tonight marked the conclusion of the 2011 SCIAC Swimming & Diving Championships.