Men’s team finishes in third place, women’s in eighth after four-day competition

(Ian Mostrom/Broadside)

(Ian Mostrom/Broadside)

Four long days of competing may seem like a lot to many people, but it is what Mason’s swimming and diving team look forward to all year. From Feb. 27 to March 2, Mason competed in and hosted the CAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

The final results of the championship put men’s in third, behind William and Mary, and let UNCW take their twelfth consecutive champion while the women’s held steady ending the championships still ranked eighth.

“In a way, it’s the only meet that matters. It’s what we train for all year. People expect to see a lot of drops [in time] because of how they train,” said Travis Lauri, sophomore swim team member.

Head Coach, Peter Ward, would also say that the championships are what the team prepares fully for and is a completely different atmosphere than most individual meets.

“The atmosphere here is unbelievable. I have seen a lot of meets from any age group to the Olympics, and this is just as exciting and loud as any of those,” said Ward.

After finishing their second day of competition, Mason’s men took second place behind UNCW by a mere 11-points. Mason has finished second behind UNCW for the past three years.

“We all are looking to take Wilmington down,” Lauri said.

When Ward heard Lauri’s statement, he gave a slight chuckle as if he expected nothing less from one of his swimmers.

“It definitely is a goal. We’ve come pretty close. This year is as close as any,” Ward said.

For such a young team, one with no seniors and freshmen making up one-third of the team, the women hold an impressive eighth place rank.

“I am just looking for them to keep making improvements that they’ve already been making,” Ward said.

On the morning of their third day, the team seems to be swimming better. It may be due to Ward’s early morning swims before team breakfast.

(Ian Mostrom/Broadside)

(Ian Mostrom/Broadside)

“It is a huge advantage because they are already awake and ready to go when it’s time to compete at 10 a.m.,” Ward said.

With two more final rounds left, the team still had a lot to overcome. They were running off the excitement and energy that the championship has brought to Mason. There have already been amazing performances from several teammates like Nick Guttendorf, finishing second in the one-meter dive. Also, Paige Impink took first seed in the preliminary round of the women’s 100-yard backstroke, with a time of 54.57.

“That’s only two hundredths of a second off the conference record. I knew it was going to be good but not that good,” said Ward about Impink’s preliminary swim.

The team kept competing hard with important races on the third and fourth day. Ward said the men’s 400 IM, where the team has four of the top six seeds along with the top seed, and 200 freestyle were two very important events.

The main focus for Ward in the last two days were to help those who have not gotten the performances they want during the championship.

“I just want to work on getting people to their goals. The people that are swimming fast and know they are doing well are already motivated. We need to work on getting every- one to that level,” said Ward.

Although the team had finish first in the 400 IM, Guttendorf also finish second in the three-meter dive and Impink beat the conference record for the 100 meter backstroke on March 2, the team fell behind on the last day of competition.