Oberlin swimmers and fans alike expected at least one half of the team to prevail in last Saturday's meet against Ohio Wesleyan. Most, however, didn't think it would be the men.
The male swimmers, expected to struggle in what was thought to be a rebuilding year, are now 2-1, as they squeaked by 120-104. Coach Dick Michaels was pleasantly surprised with the men's success. "We sort of expected to lose this one," he said with a laugh.
Standout junior John Limouze, who swam spectacularly last year, once again emerged as the big winner, sweeping three events in convincing fashion. Limouze comfortably won the 200 individual medeley, the 200 yard butterfly, and the 200 yard backstroke. Despite his heroics, it was the important contributions from other members of the men's team that proved paramount to their victory.
First-place finishes by captain senior Jeremy Steinhauer and sophomore Brian Jones helped put the men over the top. Meanwhile, standout first-year Scott Saylor distinguished himself and his team in the diving competition by winning both dives.
Still, Michaels was a bit disappointed with the outcome of the ill-fated women's match. "We had hoped to win that meet," he said. He hopes for the woman to live up to their lofty potential and win as many as five meets this year. Unfortunately, their record sank to 1-2, as the women fell 125-113.
Although the Oberlin women's squad has improved dramatically from last year, Michaels was impressed with the giant steps that the Ohio Weslyan women had taken this year as well.
Oberlin women, who prevailed in last year's Ohio Weslyan meet, did boast some excellent individual performances, especially that of first-year Celeste Mercer, who shattered the standing varsity record in the 200 yard backstroke by a full two seconds. Adding to the magnitude of this feat is the fact that this meet was the first time she had ever swam the event competitively.
Captain senior Clara Stemwedel also swam impressively, winning convincingly in the 500 and 1000 yard freestyle events. Michaels also mentioned junior Andrea Lindborg as swimming particularly well in the meet. The medley relay group of Mercer, first-year Rebecca Ducore, fellow first-year Julia Handelman, and sophomore Aurelie Cabou finished second in their race, but delivered strong performances, narrowly missing the Oberlin record. Senior diver Megan McKinnon won each of her dives.
Michaels also mentioned that neither team needed to do "anything in particular to improve" and hopes to compete strongly in each of the two meets this weekend.
He asserted that the women will face a stiff challenge in preventing their record from dropping deeper into the loss column, as each opponent has been a pest for Oberlin women in the past, and field quality teams again this year. Michaels did express cautious optimism, however. "The men have a good chance at winning each meet," he said, "just because we match up so well." Oberlin swims against Wittenberg at 5 p.m. Friday evening and against Wooster at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, both at home.
Whee!: A diver sees the world upside down. (photo by Becky Johnson)
Splish-splash, takin' a bath: The Swimming and Diving team froths and frolics at Saturday's meet. (photo by Becky Johnson)
Copyright © 1998, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 127, Number 10, November 20, 1998
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