Yeoswimmers Compete in Three-Day Wooster Invite
The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams concluded their exhausting but successful three-day meet at the Wooster Invitational this past Saturday.
Although both teams lacked complete rosters, they still managed to finish well because of sheer talent.
“Both teams did really well last weekend,” commented first-year Laura Fries. “We didn’t have any divers, which makes it a lot harder to place well. Still, the women managed to get sixth out of ten, and then men got seventh out of eight, with only five of them.”
On Thursday, the Oberlin women’s squad started out with a bang by placing fourth in the 200-yard freestyle relay event. The team was composed of senior co-captain Emily Spence, sophomores Ploy Keener and Bryne Ulmschneider and first-year Shannon Gallagher. Their time of 1:43.44 is the second fastest in Oberlin’s history. Ulmschneider came back later that day to compete in the 500-yard freestyle. She had an exceptional race finishing second out of 44 swimmers with a solid time of 5:19.91 just .57 seconds behind the winner.
On the men’s side, sophomore Scott McInerney tallied 28 points as he cruised to a second place finish in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.66, edging out third place by .04 seconds.
The second day of the meet continued to prove successful for the Yeoswimmers despite being tired from the previous. Spence explains how it felt to swim at Wooster for more than one day: “The meet this weekend was a ton of people hanging out in a pool for three days. There were 10 women’s teams...so really a lot of people and a lot of noise and commotion in one natatorium.”
Fries admits she uses the pace of the big invitationals to her advantage. “I get much more nervous at big meets, but sometimes that extra adrenaline is what makes you go faster.”
Fries, who has been swimming competitively for the past six years, set a lifetime best in the preliminary trials of the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:02.17. In the finals later that evening, she placed sixth in 1:02.44. Other Yeowomen performances to note came from Spence and other senior co-captain Kate Boyd. Spence competed in the prelims of the 100-yard butterfly and advanced to the finals where she finished eighth with a time of 1:03.01. Boyd notched a sixth place finish in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 5:01.83.
Sophomore Mark Muthersbaugh and McInerney both had great races. Muthersbaugh finished 15th in the 200-freestyle with a new personal best time of 1:54.93. McInerney earned another second place finish, with a time of 52.67 in the 100-yard butterfly. In addition, his preliminary time 52.12 was the fastest of the day.
Saturday, Dec. 2 marked the last day of competition for the Yeomen and Yeowomen. Spence summarizes her experience at a meet like Wooster’s: “You do have to approach [large meets] differently. A dual meet is more like a mental sprint, for me at least. It’s just a few hours and you’re done. An invitational is three days, morning is prelims [and] evening is finals if you swam well in the a.m. You have to do so much more mental prep.”
Although they were tired, Boyd, Ulmschneider and Fries led the rest of the women’s squad. Boyd finished ninth in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:34.86. Bryne Ulmschneider earned third place in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Her time was 18:51.49 and was the fifth fastest in school history. Fries also competed strongly in the women’s 200-yard backstroke. Her time of 2:14.98 is the third fastest time by a Yeowoman.
The men wrapped up their last day of competition with some solid performances. McInerney had a repeat performance from the day before placing second in the 200-yard butterfly. In the prelims he set a new personal best time of 1:57.72. Muthersbaugh competed in the 100-yard free and swam a lifetime best of 51.77. The 400-yard freestyle relay team of McInerney, Muthersbaugh, and first-years Daniel Holm and Jacob Wishart had some impressive splits. Holm also swam a lifetime best in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:23.88.
Both the men’s and the women’s teams are done competing until the middle of January. The squad will take a break from the cold weather and travel to Florida from Jan. 3-11 to enjoy some hardcore training and racing.
Spence shares her excitement for the month ahead: “I am looking forward to training and competing in January, when I don’t have school work and finals looming and can really concentrate on swimming my heart out.”