While the La Verne men and women’s swim teams have not been able to rack up a meet win in their first two match ups against Biola and Occidental, all they needed was a trip to Whittier to turn things around.
With the women narrowly winning 94-88 and the men trouncing the Poets, 128-101.
Both teams improved to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
This was the first year the Poets have been able to put together a women’s team.
“Last year all we had to do was swim one race and we had already won the meet,” sophomore Kristina Miller said after the meet with Occidental.
Leopards sophomore Gerald Bolson broke the ULV record in the 50-yard freestyle with a 21.12 second mark, breaking the previous record by more than half a second.
Bolson also won the 100-yard freestyle and senior captain Casey Heinen won the 500-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly.
Sophomore Chad Loury and senior Mike Anello were the only competitors in the diving events, finishing one and two respectively.
On the women’s side, freshman Kelli Nottingham won both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle with freshman Megan Moore taking the 1,000-yard freestyle and junior Laura Larsen winning the 200-yard freestyle.
“They’ve been one of the weakest teams,” head coach John Hallman said.
“A few months ago their water polo coach took over the team and they’ve been more competitive but it should be the opposite of [the meet against Occidental],” he added.
For the most part it was quite the opposite.
Where the Whittier meet went smoothly and ended up with a win, the Occidental meet had some unplanned mishaps and ended in a ULV loss.
There was a delay of approximately 25 minutes due to the absence of one of the officials.
After the delay, Hallman and Tigers coach Peggy Carl agreed to start the match with fill-in officials from the crowd until the missing official showed up for the women’s 200-yard freestyle.
The women of ULV won the first race of the meet, the 4×100-yard medley relay, with a time of 2:00.63.
But they were unable to keep the momentum going.
The University of La Verne lost the meet by a whopping 141-78.
The men fared slightly better, losing 130-111, however they were only down by three points before the diving events were factored in.
“Oxy’s come up real big,” Hallman said. “I thought we had an outside shot of winning in the beginning of the meet, but we would’ve had to stay on our A game and we couldn’t.”
Hallman sees the effort his teams are exerting and he is watching carefully for chances to improve before the meets to come.
“I think we swam really well. It really came down to five touch outs. We were on the bad side of four and the good side of one,” Hallman said.
Heinen accounted for most of the wins for the men’s team.
He won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:03.45, the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:39.93, and the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:09.18.
Heinen understands the importance of practice, even during the team’s occasional breaks.
“When I’m not in season I swim on a club team near my home in Paso Robles,” Heinen said. “I train with them, so when it’s time for the season here, I’m ready to go.”
Both the men and women’s 100-yard freestyle races were unofficial due to a clock error.
But even the clock error couldn’t stop the women of ULV from winning some other sprint races.
Freshman Mahina Melli Reyes won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:15.23.
Reyes also won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 0:56.91.
Moore won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:07.55.
Although the teams continue to do well, there are some down falls to having smaller teams than other schools.
“We have a lot of good swimmers,” sophomore swimmer Krintina Miller said. “We just don’t have a lot of bodies.”
“We have a lot more guys than women so we weren’t able to get as many points,” Miller added.
The Leopards’ next meet will be the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Winter Vegas Invite Dec. 16-18 in Las Vegas.
Kevin Zeni can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.