Historic swim season ends with high spirits

Photo courtesy of LC Pioneers

By Rachel Stone

The Lewis & Clark men’s and women’s swim teams wrapped up their season on Feb. 17 with a final meet at the University of Puget Sound (UPS), achieving four new school records. In total, 13 school records were broken during the 2017-18 season, with five for the women’s team and eight for the men’s team. This compares to nine total records made last year, three of which were broken again multiple times this year.

Men’s Captain Miles French ’18 broke the men’s 100-yard breaststroke record at the Logger Invitational meet at UPS midway through the season. He continued to drop time at the Northwest Conference (NWC) DIII Championships on the weekend of Feb. 9. His final time was 57.7 seconds.

French did not start the season believing he would swim at his fastest, given that swimmers typically post slower times during their senior year.

“The older grades tend to focus on other things like going abroad or graduating, rather than being a fast swimmer,” French said. “I’ve been really happy to show that’s not the case. At any point in your career you can turn things around.”

French also participated in breaking the school’s men’s 400-yard medley relay record with Matt Jackson ’20, August Bergh ’19 and Kyle Monteleone ’21.

Sam Duran ’20 finished her season with five school records. At the Logger Invitational, she broke the 200-yard backstroke record, breaking it again at the end of the season. She also broke the women’s 100-yard butterfly twice at the NWC Championships, along with the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke. She also competed in four separate relays.

The NWC Championships consists of three full days of swimming, day and night.

“Everyone was pretty exhausted after NWC,” Duran said. “One night we got out at 10 p.m. and no one had even known how late it was.”

A week later, Duran set an additional record at UPS in the 200-yard individual medley.

“I really, genuinely was not expecting it to happen,” Duran said. “I saw my time and I thought, that can’t be real.”

Monteleone was also among this season’s record breakers. At the Championships, he broke the men’s 100-yard backstroke twice and placed fourth overall. At UPS on Feb. 17, Monteleone also broke the men’s 200-yard backstroke record and participated in a record-breaking men’s 200-yard freestyle relay with Bergh, Sam Raphael ’20 and Andrew Butcher ’21. Their time of 1:27:27 is the fastest by LC swimmers since 1989.

Butcher broke records in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle this season. He also participated in a record-breaking 200-yard medley relay with French, Monteleone and Jackson.

In addition to these races, LC swim achieved significant success as a team. Both the men’s and women’s teams finished sixth place overall at the NWC Championships this season. This is an improvement from the 2016-17 season’s seventh place finish for the men, and from the 2015-16 season where the men placed eighth and the women placed seventh overall.

This year, the women’s team won against three teams while the men’s team won against two. These wins included two sweeps against Willamette University and Pacific University and a victory over Whitworth University for the women, their first in over a decade. The win against Whitworth was the highlight of the season for both Assistant Coach Sarit Gluz and Women’s Captain Kassie Kometani ’19.

“It was an incredible moment for us,” Kometani said via email. “Every single person on our team played a role in that win, and it was a great feeling for us to achieve that.”

LC swim accomplished several successes outside of the pool as well. The men’s team was added to the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America teams for Fall 2017 for earning a collective GPA of 3.30.

Multiple swimmers commented on the immense support and camaraderie among LC swim as a whole. French said the team is incredibly close this year, and this closeness contributed to their success.

“There’s so much that goes into the care and nurturing of each other,” French said. “So much of it is being vulnerable and crying with your teammates about all the personal stuff you have to juggle.”

Gluz and French also noticed especially strong mentoring of underclassmen from upperclassmen.

“The seasoned veterans were able to guide (first-year students) in a positive direction and make a huge impact on the college swimming experience for the whole team,” Gluz said.

This support network also exists beyond LC swim, across many athletic teams.

“I noticed so many more people showing up to our home meets this season, and swimmers going to other athletic events this year,” French said. “There was also more support from non-athletes.” He hopes this will continue in future years.

With this season’s LC swim successes, next season looks hopeful.

“The success of this year bodes well for future progress,” Gluz said. “We know the swimmers we have on the team are fast, but they are also motivated to put in the work to re-break records many times.”

After a long and exhausting season, many swimmers have already started training for the future.

“As our coaches like to say, our off-season is really pre-season for next year,” Kometani said via email.

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