Men’s and women’s swim teams off to strong starts

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The men’s and women’s swim seasons are underway, and both teams dominated Alma College and Kalamazoo College on Oct. 13 and 14. This past weekend, the women’s team fell to Findlay while the men topped the Oilers.

The women defeated Alma by a score of 151-51. The Lady Cards took first place in 11 swim and dive events. Key event wins include an eight-second win in the 200-yard medley, composed of senior Rebecca Martinez and juniors Amanda Thielen, Lydia Matter and Alexandra Davis. Thielen’s top finish in the 100 backstroke, as well as Mattar’s 1:02:95 first place finish in the 100 yard IM, were good for a new SVSU record in the race.

The men also topped the Scots, 155-42. The men’s 200-yard medley also took first place with a time of 1:35:70. Junior Peter Lin led the Cardinals with wins in both the 100 yard IM (54.58) and the 500 free (4:48:22).

The following day, the Cardinals continued to impress when SVSU hosted Kalamazoo College. The women won 143-88 and the men won 148-83. The Lady Cards’ 400 medley took first place, led by Thielen, who also took the 200 backstroke. Davis also finished with a pair of first-place finishes in the 1,000 free (11:04:70) and 500 free (5:20:61). Davis’s 1,000 free time was 22 seconds faster than runner-up Alicia Sobell, a sophomore also from SVSU.

Senior diver Wilhelmina Fransisco took first place in the 1 meter dive with 223.40 points

The men found equal success against Kalamazoo. Lin had a tremendous day with top finishes in the 1,000 free (9:50:88) and 500 free (4:45:46). Lin’s time in the 1,000 free was an impressive 29 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Senior Shaun Yap was part of the winning 400 medley, but also found success in 200 IM, finishing first with a time of 1:56:33.

Freshman diver Justin Ott took first in the 1 meter dive with a 228.0 score followed by sophomore teammate Kevin Aziz with 188.90.

“It was a great start to the season to win our first two home openers,” Mattar said. “It really gets the momentum going for the rest of the season and keeps team morale high. It’s nice to see our training paying off.”

After defeating Kalamazoo, the teams took to the road to square off against the University of Findlay on Saturday, Oct. 28, for what would be a tough matchup.

“We’re all very excited for each meet we go to,” Thielen said. “We have set our goals high and work every day to achieve them.”

The men’s team outscored the Oilers 161-135 while the women fell 163-137.

The men’s team once again featured Lin and the rest of the 400 yard medley relay team taking first, as well as a first place finish individually for Lin in the 500 yard free. Yap, however, led the Cardinals by going four-for-four in his events (100 yard breast, 200 yard breast, 200 yard IM and 400 yard medley).

Thielen took two wins for the women in the 1,000 yard free and 100 yard back, but narrowly missed first place in the 200 yard back and 400 yard medley, the latter being lost by just three-tenths of a second.

Fransisco won both of her dives (1 meter and 3 meter dive) for the Lady Cardinals.

With a 3-0 start for the men and 2-1 start for the women, the Cardinals have optimism for the rest of the season.

“The beginning of the season went really well and we are preparing for our midseason,” Yap said. “Our team has definitely improved and grown to be better overall since last year, and I am looking forward to see what our team can do.”

The men’s and women’s next meet will take place on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Valpraiso University.

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