ULV dives past Sagehens at Invitational

by Brice Nixon
Sports Editor

Several impressive individual performances, including two school records, led the University of La Verne men’s and women’s swim teams through their first taste of Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition at Saturday’s Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.

“This meet gives the opportunity to see what the rest of the conference is like,” said head coach John Hallman. “I’m hoping that people get eyes opened up and catch fire here, because the women are so close to winning the whole thing and the men are close to getting up there.”

Freshman Sara Kears took first in both the one-meter and three-meter diving events to lead the women’s squad to a third-place finish among nine teams.

The Leopards were fourth after the completion of the swimming events, but the performances of the divers pushed ULV past the Pomona-Pitzer team.

“I thought we swam extremely well,” said Hallman. “This year we’re very well balanced. I think that’s the strength of our team this year, is the balance we have.”

In addition to Kears’ first-place finishes, sophomore Debbie Lewis placed second in the three-meter dive competition.

The men’s team, led by sophomore John Chon, finished in sixth place, ahead of SCIAC opponent Whittier.

Chon took second in the 100-meter butterfly in 55.79 seconds. He also swam the freestyle sprints, taking fourth in the 50 (22.40) and fifth in the 100 (51.10), earning 16 points for the Leopards.

The Lancers of California Baptist College, an NAIA school, finished first in both the men’s and women’s team competitions as they took first in more than half the 26 individual swimming events and the majority of the 10 relays.

Sophomore Allison Alastuey was second in two individual events for ULV. She was second in the 200 backstroke (2:17.82) as Kirsty Strand of Redlands set meet and pool records while winning the event in 2:13.92. La Verne sophomore Summer Hammons placed sixth in 2:28.74. Alastuey was also second in the 500 freestyle in 5:28.69.

Alastuey was ahead in the 500 freestyle after 100 meters but was soon overtaken by Cal Baptist’s Akiko Ueda. Alastuey, Ueda and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ Samantha Brace were even after 350 meters but Alastuey and Ueda pulled away, with Ueda edging Alastuey by .63 seconds.

Sophomore Katie Aimone, the reigning SCIAC champion in the 100 backstroke, finished second in the 100 backstroke (1:04.90) and fourth in the 100 freestyle (57.22).

La Verne sophomore Tandis Morgan was fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:06.16) and sixth in the 50 freestyle (26.16), earning eight points for the Leopards.

Two members of the women’s team set school records with fifth-place finishes in the breaststroke events. Freshman Nicole Cantaneso set the new mark of 1:14.31 in the 100 breaststroke.

Sophomore Tiffany Yates broke the 100 breaststroke record as she stopped the clock at 2:42.57. Yates also took fourth in the 50 freestyle (26.07), an event in which Jessica Wild of Cal Baptist set new meet and pool records and qualified for Nationals with a time of 23.90.

The women’s team also fared well in the relay events, taking second in one and third in four others.

The Leopards opened the invitational with a third-place finish in the 200 relay medley (1:58.01). They placed third in the 400 relay medley (4:25.94).

Yates led off the 800 freestyle relay by finishing her leg in first place. But by 400 meters, Pomona-Pitzer had taken the lead. La Verne eventually finished third in 8:44.38.

ULV, which set a SCIAC record (1:38.99) in winning the 200 freestyle relay at last year’s SCIAC Championships, finished second (1:44.71) in that event Saturday as Cal Baptist’s squad set a pool record with a first-place finish in 1:42.27.

In the 400 freestyle relay, La Verne, Pomona-Pitzer, Cal Baptist and Redlands were all even after 300 meters. But the Lancers pulled away in the final 50 meters to place first. The Leopards were third in 3:50.11.

The swim teams’ next meet is not until Saturday, Nov. 20, when they host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Whittier.

Brice Nixon

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