Alexandra de Leon
The women on the La Verne swimming and diving team shined at the team’s home opener and first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference dual meet against Occidental Saturday at the La Verne Aquatics Center.
The women picked up their first win against Occidental in four years, while the men were outnumbered by the Tigers.
Out of the 28 events of the day, 17 of the first place titles went to La Verne.
“Dual meets are always a good stepping stone to the season,” head coach Pat Skehan said. “It’s a good chance to see where we’re at, and see what we need to work on and plan for the future.”
The women took the lead in the first and last events, the women’s 200-yard medley relay finishing with a time of 1:56:11 and the women’s 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:49:36.
This earned the Leopards 11 points in both events.
The women’s 400-yard freestyle relay consisted of sophomore Mary Hanna, freshman Rachel Fox, sophomore Rachel Miyoga and junior Karla Fuertez.
The women’s 200-yard medley relay consisted of Hanna, Fox, Miyoga and junior Krislyn Cha.
Miyoga took the lead in not only the women’s 200-yard medley relay, but the 50-yard freestyle, as well as the women’s 400-yard freestyle relay.
“We’re just trying to see where we are since this is a preseason meet,” Miyoga said.
Junior swimmer Harry Bennett helped earn a total of nine points for the men, as he finished in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:13:37.
In the men’s 200-yard IM, Bennett finished with a time of 2:04:32.
“This time of season we’re training really hard. We don’t really take any kinds of breaks, we’re always going to do it tired and broken,” Bennett said.
Despite solid performances, the men did not take first place in any of the relays, they took second in the 400-yard freestyle relay, losing by two seconds.
The men’s relay team consisted of Bennett, freshman CJ Woodward, freshman Kristofer Grigorian and junior Daniel Carpenter.
“Hard work is not an issue with this team,“ Hanna said.
The team has practiced the entire year for the start of their season, working closely with strength and conditioning coach Matt Durant, Skehan said.
The team is also happy with how well the newest members have caught on to the techniques of the team and the dynamics of the team.
“I’m expecting a lot from the team, we have been training very hard, and we don’t have a lot of meets this year,” junior swimmer Andrew Okimura said. “With the few opportunities we have, we’re going to take advantage of them and do well.”
The team’s goal this season is to move up in conference and send more swimmers to nationals this year.
“The times will always vary, and at the end of the day it’s who goes to the wall first,” Bennett said.
The Leopards hit the pool once again against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens and the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen starting at 11 a.m. Nov. 21 at Haldeman Pool in Claremont.
Alexandra de Leon can be reached at email@example.com.