by Christian A. Lopez
With back-to-back meets at Pepperdine University last Friday and the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on Saturday, the University of La Verne’s swimming and diving teams showed promise in early season competition.
“Our team as a whole started off a little bit slow, but now I’m starting to see some people get some roots planted and start taking off,” said head coach John Hallman on the team’s progress.
In Saturday’s invitational at Pomona college, the men’s team finished in fourth place overall out of the eight teams with 45 points. Some schools that competed were host Pomona-Pitzer, Redlands, Occidental, Whittier, and first place finisher for both the men’s and women’s teams California Baptist University.
In men’s competition, junior John Chon, who is coming off a broken hand, finished third in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.25 seconds and senior Tyler Morgan placed third with a 1:01.46 time in the 100 backstroke.
Returning all conference junior Ryan Mac Donald placed fourth in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:28.99 and fifth with a time of 1:56.79 in the 200 freestyle.
The women’s team, which returns with All-American juniors Summer Hammons and Katie Aimone, finished ninth out of 10 teams with 28 points. Junior Allison Alastuey placed third in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:19.50 and finished fifth in the 500 freestyle with a 5:35.28 time.
In women’s diving junior Debbie Lewis placed 11th in the 1-meter dive and took sixth place in the 3-meter dive.
On Friday the team traveled to the shores of Malibu where they faced Division I opponents Pepperdine University and California State University, Northridge.
The men’s team, who only saw action from Northridge as Pepperdine does not have a men’s team, fared well against the Matadors. Chon took second in the 50 freestyle with a 23.03 time and in the 100 freestyle with a time of 53.18. Mac Donald finished second in the 100 backstroke and the 200 breaststroke with times of 1:00.93 and 2:28.56 respectively.
For the women, freshman Carleen Sentak took third place in the 50 freestyle with a time of 26.26 and Hammons place fifth in in the 100 freestyle with a time of 58.53.
“Really what this team needs is patience and concentrating on the basics, and that comes practicing day in and day out,” said Hallman on what the team needs to show progress.
Also helping the Leopards in building that patience and concentration is Toby Reclusado, who has joined La Verne as the new diving coach, replacing Justin Borba. Reclusado brings nine years of coaching experience under his belt, as well as the 2000 Coach of the Year award in the South Coast Conference.
The teams’ next meet is today at 1:30 at Claremont, against Whittier and CMS.
Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.