by Amanda Stutevoss
The waves crashed at Occidental College Saturday when the University of La Verne men’s and women’s swim teams defeated both of Occidental’s swim teams in the Leopards last dual meet of the 2001-2002 season.
The wins placed both the men’s and women’s teams in solid ties for third place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Conference. The teams should have a solid chance at scoring similar or better results at conference championships, which will take place next weekend at Cerritos Aquatic Center, head coach John Hallman said.
The Leopards pulled a sneak attack on the Tigers in the final relay of the meet to determine the outcome of the men’s meet, winning 102-91.
The Leopards were winning the meet by only a few points going into the final relay, and the team who won the final relay was the team who would win the meet.
With four strong swimmers on the final relay, the Leopards were able to hold onto the the meet.
Swimmers Jason Walters, who placed first in the 200-yard individual medley and first in the 100-yard freestyle, Ryan MacDonald, who placed first in the 200-yard breaststroke, and John Chon, who placed first in the 50-yard freestyle, all contributed to the Leopards win over Occidental.
First place finishes from Allison Alasteuy in the mile and the 200-yard backstroke, a win from Gabi Bahlo in the 100-yard freestyle, and a win in the 4×100-yard medley relay, as well as the 4×200-yard freestyle relay, propelled the women to triumph over the Tigers, in a final score of 120-91.
The win at Occidental helped serve as a dress rehearsal for the Leopards, as both the teams needed confidence going into the final meet of the season.
It was a day full of mixed emotions for the ULV Leopards, as the seniors, who will be the very first graduating class, swam in their final dual meet of their careers.
Other than the meet on Saturday the seasons of everyone on the team are over.
The SCIAC conference championships is the grand finale for both the men’s and women’s team.
The 2002 graduating class signifies more than just a new class of incoming talent, but the Leopards will be graduating the inaugural season seniors.
The 2002 class entered the swim program four years ago, with hopes for success as the University of La Verne’s inaugural team. The team is graduation ten seniors from the original team.
“We started something new together and now we get to finish together,” said senior John Chon.
“It is very emotional that we are losing these inaugural season seniors,” said Hallman.
“I am so proud of those who have continued on this journey. This is an experience that they will be able to draw upon for the rest of their lives,” he said.
Looking ahead to conference championships will be the women’s 200-yard freestyle relay.
In 2000, the women’s relay qualified for the Division III National meet in Atlanta, Georgia.
Three out of the 4 women, Tandis Morgen, Katie Aimone, and Summer Hammons, are back in 2002 and are hoping to reclaim their title.
With help from freshman all-star Gabi Bahlo, their hopes for a repeating the championship title are well within reach.
“On paper these girls are just as good as they were in 2000.” Hall man said.
“Going into this meet our expectations are extremely high. We have the conference record, and if we are all on, we should break it. We will own it,” said senior Summer Hammons.
Other swims to look ahead for at the championships will be Walters who will be competing in the 200 yard individual medley, 100 yard backstroke, and 200 yard backstroke, MacDonald in the 100 and 200 yard breastroke, Aimone in the 100 yard backstroke, and Alasteuy in the 500 yard freestyle and 200 yard backstroke.
Relay teams for both men’s and women’s teams should be strong in every event, Hallman said.
The regular season will conclude this Saturday at Cerritos Aquatic Center in the SCIAC Conference Championships. The meet starts at 11 a.m on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.