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Swimmers Earn Qualifying Times With Second-Place Finish

Managing Editor

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 02:12


Sam Colt

A number of Ladies secured NCAA “A” or “B” cut times at the TPSC Invitational, held at Kenyon last weekend.


The women’s swimming and diving team continued on the path toward the national championship meet with a strong performance at this weekend’s Total Performance Sports Camps Invitational.

In the team standings, Kenyon fell to the University of Pennsylvania, a Division I program, 1565-1159.5. Still, the meet was full of strong performances by the Ladies, who earned multiple “A” cuts, which qualify a swimmer for automatic entry into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)meet in March, and broke several varsity records in the process.

“There were good swims all over the place,” Head Coach Jessen Book ’01 said. “It suggests that people are moving in the right direction.”

Perhaps the most dominant swims in the meet came from Hannah Saiz ’13, who stopped the clock at 54.85 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly — an “A” cut. In the preliminary rounds of the meet, Saiz swam the 100-yard butterfly in 54.36, which set a new school record and beat the D-I automatic qualification threshold. Hannah Cooper ’15 finished second in the finals to her older teammate, clocking 56.06 seconds. In addition to Saiz’s “A” cut, Cooper, Hillary Yarosh ’14 and Jourdan Cline ’15 all clocked “B” cuts in the event, which provisionally qualify them for the national meet.

In the 200-yard butterfly, Saiz put up an equally powerful performance with a time of 1:57.88, another new varsity record, in the prelims and 1:58.83 in the finals. The latter time is a D-I “B” cut, and well above the D-III “A” cut standard.

Diver Maria Zarka ’16 once again delivered for the Ladies, winning in both the one-meter and three-meter events. Her score in the former event set a new varsity record and the latter a pool record.

Kate Haller ’13 and Celia Oberholzer ’15 earned “B” cuts in the 100-yard backstroke. While both of their times fell below the D-III automatic qualifying standard, they are both two seconds faster than the D-III “B” cut time.

Anna Connolly ’13 and Yaroshpicked up a D-III “B” cut in the 100-yard freestyle, finishing in the prelims in 23.80 seconds.

A Kenyon quartet also came first in the 400-yard medley relay. The foursome, comprised of Haller, Katie Kaestner  ’16, Saiz and Yarosh, finshed in 3:46.42, a D-III “B” cut. The automatic qualifying standard in the race is 3:46.34. In total, Kenyon’s relay squads earned eight “B” cuts during the meet.

NCAA officials set “A” cut times purposefully high, because the championship meet has a cap on the maximum number of swimmers who may participate. While relatively few swimmers qualify automatically, meet organizers draw the rest of the participant pool from those who have earned “B” cuts.

“The differentiation between making a cut and missing a cut is very fine. There will be a lot of people bunched into a very tight window of time where hundredths of a second do matter,” Book said. “And so for many people who are very close, we will rest and shave again and go for a faster time at the conference championships.”

The Ladies will not compete again until 2013, but will attend their annual training trip in Sarasota, Fla. over the winter break. It’s an event that allows the team to come together as they prepare for the final dash toward the two most important meets of the season: the North Coast Athletic Conference and NCAA championship meets.

“For many swimmers, they feel like this is the moment that the team becomes the team,” Book said. “And for most of the freshmen, they feel like this is the moment they become fully ingrained.”

The trip also allows the team to return to their normal training regimen in an environment mostly free of distraction.

“Its gets us all back on the same page. We’ll reestablish some great tendencies and some habits,” Book said, “and then we’ll get to work.”

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