Swimming takes on big schools in Show-Me Showdown

In a meet that brought in Missouri’s best college swimmers, the Washington University swim and dive teams were able to hold their own and come away with some good results.

The Bears’ teams competed in the Show-Me Showdown at the University of Missouri in Columbia on Friday, with the men’s team finishing in sixth place out of eight teams and the women’s team tying for fifth out of seven.

“You’re really going for the competition, just to see how you race, see how you compete, and I thought we had a lot of fun,” head coach Brad Shively said. “I thought the emotions were really good, our enthusiasm [was] great, and we also walked away realizing we had a lot of things to work on.”

While the initial team results may not be the most flattering, the Bears were facing off with several schools beyond their typical level of competition. Among them were Missouri, a Division I team in the Southeastern Conference, and Drury University, last season’s Division II NCAA champions.

Knowing its competition, Wash. U. felt good about how it came out of the meet.

“It’s difficult to gauge because we’re literally in our third week of practice, and we had a meet against all these Division I schools,” junior Chi Pham said. “So place-wise, we didn’t do that great, but I think as a team we did pretty well, and we had a good time.”

In particular, Shively was happy with the progress his relay teams showed during the meet. Three of the Bears’ relay teams placed in the top five of their races.

Both the men’s and women’s 200-yard freestyle relay teams placed fifth overall. Sophomore Peter Qin, senior Brendan Morin, and freshmen Reed Dalton and Kaisen Yao combined for a time of 1:27.46 while the women’s relay of junior Jennifer Tartavull, freshman Katie Anderson, Pham and freshman Kristalyn McAfee put together a finishing time of 1:40.77. McAfee, Tartavull and Anderson also led the Bears to a fifth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay, with freshman Grace Counts anchoring the group to a 3:39.52 time.

The men’s 200-yard medley relay of Yao, junior Brian Carpenter, Morin and freshman RJ Petrella was also able to take ninth place with a time of 1:37.48.

“I thought we had some relays that really stepped it up, thought we had some fast relay swims at the end,” Shively said. “I thought we swam those with a lot of enthusiasm and emotion.”

The best individual finish of the day was from Anderson, who took seventh in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:00.54. Freshman Hannah Lillioja finished behind her in 11th place at 1:01.44, and at least one member of the women’s team noticed her effort.

“I think that on the women’s team, all of the freshmen did pretty well, particularly Hannah Lillioja,” said Pham, who also swam in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard breaststroke. “She did really, really well.”

Three other Bears managed 11th-place finishes—McAfee in the 200-yard individual medley (2:13.39), Tartavull in the 100-yard free (54.63) and freshman Amanda Stadermann in the 100-yard butterfly (1:01.08).

For the men’s team, the best individual finish on the day was Morin’s 12th-place finish in the

50-yard freestyle in 21.79 seconds. Yao was 13th in the 100-yard butterfly at 54.12 seconds, while Carpenter’s 1:00.40 time in the 100-yard breaststroke was good for 14th place.

Wash. U. will not have another meet until Oct. 27, when it takes on DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. With three weeks between meets, the Bears will be able to ramp up their practices and yardage a bit.

“We’ve probably earned the opportunity to get back to some training, and we will. We’ll really take advantage of it,” Shively said. “[At the beginning of the season,] it’s really hard to focus on starts, turns, breakouts, power training; there’s a lot of things that we need to work on, and we’ll start that on Monday.”

With additional reporting by Alex Leichenger.