Leopards lack buoyancy against rival Poets

Sarah Van Buskirk

The La Verne men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams were lapped, 186-45, by the Whittier Poets on Saturday at the La Verne Aquatic Center.

Whittier has a much larger bench than La Verne which caused the Poets to race against themselves in several events, giving their overall score a leap. 

Many of the Leopards were under the weather this weekend and did not compete.

Though the Poets anchored down on the Leopards, there were still some impressive performances that La Verne showboated in the water. 

In the women’s 100-yard backstroke freshman Madeline Grove proved her young talent by taking first place with a time of 01:05.85 over the Poets’ sophomore Grace Cooper, who finished about four seconds after. 

Grove continued to make great strides in the women’s 200-yard backstroke, taking first place with a time of 02:28.55, just a little over a second before Cooper.

For the women’s 400-yard freestyle relay the Leopards were up against two sets of Poet relay teams. La Verne came in second place with a time of 04:08.64 as freshman Cassandra Grinstead, freshman Mahayla Reyes, Grove, and senior Emma Vu dove off of the block.

For the rest of the events, the Leopards found themselves in the last two spots on the leaderboard.

This was the Leopards’ last home meet of the season beside the Alumni meet on Jan. 21, so the seniors got to say their final goodbyes to Las Flores Park. Those graduating in the spring include Celina Cervantes, Kira Degelsmith, Brandon Pham and Vu. 

Vu said she personally felt like she could have performed better but a virus going around the team stunted her swimming abilities along with other Leopards. With part of the team sick, Vu said it brought the vibe down during the meet, and that reframing that mentality will be the goal for this coming weekend. 

The Winter Collegiate Invite kicks off Friday as the Leopards travel to East Los Angeles for a midseason championship weekend running through Sunday with the preliminaries beginning at 10 a.m., diving starting at 1 p.m., and finishing off the days with the finals at 5 p.m.

“We all get to suit up and we have been resting a little bit for this meet,” Vu said. “We have been working a lot on details and not only am I excited to see how fast I can go but also how fast my teammates will go.”

Sarah Van Buskirk can be reached at sarah.vanbuskirk@laverne.edu.

Sarah Van Buskirk is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. She is the Spring 2024 editorial director for the Campus Times and has recently served as editor-in-chief, sports editor and staff writer. She is also currently a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine, and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine.

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