Swimming teams break school records, earn accolades at NCAAs

| Sports Editor

The Washington University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams returned triumphantly from the 2011 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships with four new school records, and every participating swimmer earned All-America accolades at the four-day meet in Knoxville, Tenn.

“The fact that eight people came and eight people are All-Americans is a big deal,” head coach Brad Shively said. “You take for granted that you are a good swimmer, but the fact is that every swimmer here is a good swimmer. It is difficult to [be an All-American]. You can’t take for granted an All-America performance. It is probably the thing that makes me proudest.”

The men’s side finished in 16th place Knoxville, Tenn., their ninth straight top-20 finish, while the women finished in 24th place, their ninth straight top-25 finish.

“I am proud that we have been able to get people to the actual meet,” Shively said. “The girls only had two swimmers and still made the top-25. The point is that you have to score. It’s a testament to them that they did so well. We’ve got to get more people here, and we need to do better, but I’m not disappointed. I think we did our very best.”

The men opened the Championships with a bang, earning seventh-place in the 200-yard medley relay. The team of senior Kartik Anjur, freshman Brian Carpenter, sophomore Brendan Morin and senior David Chao posted a time of 1:31.95, good for a new Wash. U. record.

Morin shined the next day, shaving .15 seconds off his school-record time in the 100-yard butterfly. He posted a time of 49.72, good for 13th place, to become the first men’s swimmer in Wash. U. history to earn All-America honors in the event.

Anjur was the star on day three, earning two All-America honors on the day. He broke his own school record in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 49.85 and finished tenth overall. The 800-yard freestyle relay team of Chao, Anjur, sophomore Mark Minowitz and junior Chris Valach finished ninth overall with a time of 6:42.62, the ninth-straight All-America finish in the event for the Bears.

The fourth day belonged to Chao who ended his tenure at Wash. U. with 14 All-America distinction after a 12th place finish in the 100-yard freestyle with a season-best time of 45.28.

Chao then closed out the meet for the Red and Green by swimming as the anchor of the 400-yard freestyle relay. Minowitz, Anjur and Morin kept the Bears neck and neck with Middlebury College until Chao swam a 44.54-second anchor leg to win the consolation final.

“Winning the consolation final in the relay last night, the guys getting really into their heats, Kartik Anjur having the great 100-back, Chao with the lifetime bests, each one of those is a big deal,” Shively said.

The women were led once again by freshman Chi Pham, who earned two All-America honors. Her first came with a fifth-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke, where her school-record-breaking time of 56.09 seconds was only .88 seconds behind the winner.

“That morning, I had already had a [personal]-best time, so I was pretty stoked,” Pham said. “I was going out pretty slow in the morning, so in the finals, I tried to fix what was going on in the morning. I was just pumped to be in the top eight.”

Pham’s second All-America swim came when she won the consolation final in the 200-yard individual medley. Although she swam the seventh-best time in the final round, Pham finished ninth overall.

Freshman Grace Murray was the only other competitor for the Wash. U. women at the meet, and she earned All-America honors in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Murray’s time of 17:12.99 was a personal best and good for 10th place.

“It was going into my last race of the season, and I got seeded in a good lane. My goal was to do better than I did at conference, and it worked out well,” Murray said.

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams finished their seasons ranked 13th and 12th in the nation, respectively.

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