Swimming dives into Speedo Cup tournament

by Christian A. Lopez
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams traveled to the Belmont Plaza in Long Beach to compete in the 2000 Speedo Classic last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Over 20 schools ranging from Divisions I, II and III participated in the event. Some of the schools included USC, UCLA, Hawaii, BYU, and UC San Diego.

Along with higher division schools, the Leopards also had the privilege to share the pool with a few Olympic Swimmers. Eric Vendt, who won two silver medals in the Sydney Olympics, was one of the Olympians competing in the meet.

For ULV coach John Hallman it was the experience of competing with teams and swimmers of a higher caliber that he thought would be the best experience to come out from the event.

“This meet is a great meet, not for the performances that you do, but for what you come away with,” said Hallman. “Being exposed to a better athlete makes you a better athlete.”

This exposure definitely rubbed off on freshman swimmer Jason Walters, who broke not one, but two La Verne records. His time of 53.30 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke broke the previous record of 55.09 previously held by junior teammate Rey Lopez. Walters second record-breaking performance came in the 200-yard backstroke. His time of 1:58.53 broke another of Lopez’s record which previously stood at 2:02.01. Walters finished 33rd in both events overall.

Ryan Mac Donald also performed well for the men, placing 42nd in the 200 breaststroke in 02:20.79 and 45th in the 100 breaststroke in 01:03.34.

As a team, the men finished in 13th place out of 16 teams with a total of 88 points. USC finished on top with a total of 1,134 points, followed by BYU, with 1,023, and UC Santa Barbara, with 849.

“I knew the men’s team would probably do pretty good because they were somewhat rested,” said Hallman.

The women’s team, who seemed a little drained according to Hallman, scored 30 points in the meet to finish 21st out of 22 teams.

“The women’s team was swimming tired, they’ve been training hard, but the women surprised me with a little bit better performance than I anticipated.” said Hallman on the women’s outcome.

Junior Katie Aimone had a good performance in the 100 freestyle placing 107th out of 165 swimmers with a time of 57.51. Carleen Sentak placed 92nd in the 100 butterfly with a 1:04.47 time. Allison Alastuey finished 127th in the women’s 200 freestyle with the time of 02:05.85.

The team’s next meet will be the Claremont Winter Invitational at Claremont College today at 3 p.m. and tomorrow at 9 a.m.

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