Swim preps for SCIAC finals

by Max Zänker
LV Life Editor

The 2003-2004 Southern California Intercollegiate Conference regular season ended for the University of La Verne men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams with Saturday’s loss at Pomona-Pitzer. The men were outscored 146-76, and the women took a 175-57 defeat.

“I am overall satisfied with the way we swam the meet at Pomona,” head coach John Hallman said. “But I am disappointed in other things. I had to kick off three swimmers before the meet because they had become flaky about training and let the team down.”

With that loss, the men’s team is ranked fourth in SCIAC, while the women are ranked fifth.

“During preseason, the men had set for themselves the SCIAC championship as a personal goal,” Hallman said. “But throughout the season, we lost about a third of our squad to flakiness. Now we have a thin team with great individual swimmers and I am pleased with their performance.”

“Over the whole season, the team has been doing very well. We have a lot of hard workers and a good team spirit,” said Justin Haas, who finished second in the 1650-meter freestyle and fourth in the 500-yard freestyle. “We don’t have the depth like Redlands or Claremont. They have more distance specialists, whereas we have to be well balanced.”

The women started the conference with the goal to improve on last year’s season, when they finished fifth in SCIAC.

“I think that we have a good chance to reach that goal with a good performance at the prelims,” said freshman Lynea Loeffler, whose goal is to make it to the finals in her three events: 500-yard freestyle and 100 and 200-yard backstroke.

The men’s team was led through the season by last year’s national contenders Jason Walters and Jared Carvito.

“They make people dedicated to the team and the hard work you have to absolve,” Haas said.

Carvito finished first in the 200-yard butterfly and breaststroke in Pomona.

“And then we have a lot of great workers like Darren Richards or Taylor Harry, who may not finish on top, but are great additions to the team,” Haas said about the freshmen.

As the final leg of the relay, Richards contributed to ULV’s first place finish in the 400-yard medley relay in Pomona, where he swam with Owen Barrett, Ryan Jensen and Casey Heinen.

Freshmen Jessica Egbert brought a first-place victory to ULV in the 50-yard freestyle.

“All the freshmen did really well,” Hallman said. “Especially Casey Heinen and Jessica Egbert. They really surprised me.”

Next weekend the Leopards will compete in the SCIAC Championships for their final conference ranking and the individual qualification for nationals.

“I am totally excited about the championships,” Hallman said. “The team is at the peak of their performance and they are eager to swim fast.”

Hallman sees big chances for Walters and Carvito to return to this year’s national competition and sees Egbert in shape for a qualifying time.

In addition to those, he sees an outside opportunity for junior Morgan Delaney and sophomore Mary Manzo to achieve qualifying times as well as for the men’s 200 and 400-yard medley relays.

Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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