Swimmers compete in NW Conference Championship

On Feb. 8, the Lewis & Clark Men’s and Women’s Swim Teams traveled to Federal Way, Washington for the Northwest Conference Championship. Over the course of the weekend, swimmers competed across multiple events to shave as much time as possible from their races. With many swimmers finishing with personal best times and the majority of the team scoring points, it was a hugely promising showing for the teams. Two team members, Ella Stephan ’25 and Aiden Ringel ’25, reflected on the season at large. 

Ringel, in his third year on the team, was named one of the men’s team captains this year. As one of only a few distance swimmers, Ringel swims in multiple events, ranging from 200 yards to a mile. He attributes the strong performances at the conference in part to how the team pulled together to support each other, especially in light of the loss of last year’s seniors. 

“We lost a really big point scorer last year, but everybody was able to pick up that slack,” said Ringel, emphasizing the impact that each member of the team had in their performance. 

Given the loss of last year’s seniors and the small size of the team, many did not expect a strong showing from LC this year. However, with team members working together to fill in the gaps, the results were exciting. 

“Men’s team had a much stronger showing than many people thought we would have,” said Ringel.

The community of the team is not siloed to within the men’s and women’s respective teams, though. Ringel highlighted that his teammate Kate Milne ’24 finished in the top eight in one of their final races at LC. 

“For one of their last swims, (Milne) swam in a final,” Ringel said “It’s the top eight swimmers in that race.”

The women’s team also performed impressively, coming out ahead in key races and improving times over the course of the weekend. Stephan, a captain on the women’s team, reflected on the team’s performance. 

“It was good, it was really good.” Stephan said, “We did really good points wise, there were definitely a couple of close races we came out ahead on. Most people performed better in finals than in prelims, which is huge.”

Stephan highlighted how many of her teammates scored points, which is key with a smaller team like LC’s. She also credited the new swim coach, Caitlin DeNise, for her support and guidance throughout the season, as well as her efforts in building the future of the team through recruiting.

Looking back on the season and toward what is to come, Stephan emphasized the positive track the team is on. 

“It’s a really good trajectory for next year because we’ll have most of the same people again,” Stephan said. 

Especially with ongoing recruiting efforts, the future looks bright for LC swimming. With the season ending and time opening up, both Ringel and Stephan plan on keeping up their training through a multitude of means. The water polo club, run by another swimmer, is starting to meet, as is the triathlon club. Both clubs offer opportunities for continued training and athletic development open to anyone. 

“I feel like the team did a really good job cheering for each other and paying attention to everyone’s accomplishments,” said Stephan. 

Ringel echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the community in long bus rides and shared meals. 

“I really liked all the bus rides to and from meets. Particularly at the end of the season, when we were coming back from conference, celebrating the end of our season,” he said. 

With efforts turning towards recruiting and training, and with spirits high among the team, next year is set to be a season to watch for the LC swim team.

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