Swimmers, divers falter at UW-La Crosse

The last meet of the calendar year for the UW-Eau Claire swimming and diving team didn’t go as hoped for.

Both the men’s and women’s teams fell to conference rival UW-La Crosse Saturday by a combined team score of 312-170, dropping both teams to 2-2 records in WIAC dual meets this season.

“La Crosse is a strong team – they’re vying for the conference championship on both the men’s and women’s sides,” coach Jerry Kollross said. “We were swimming not only against them but against the clock – there’s a lot of swimmers challenging for only 17 spots on the conference team.”

Men

The men’s team lost 136-103 but battled with La Crosse the entire day, earning six first-place finishes in the process.

Junior Brian Dykstra turned in a solid performance in the diving portion of the meet. Dykstra won both the one- and three-meter boards with scores of 293 and 257.75, respectively.

Sophomore Sam Wojta also stepped up for the injury-riddled divers and took second on the three-meter board with a score of 180.40.

“We’ve been losing divers left and right,” diving coach Debi Beachel said. Freshman Carl Serum is currently out with a concussion while sophomore Kenny Ritt may be done with diving forever because of a bulging disc in his back.

Senior captain Brian Jordan won the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2 minutes, 3.39 seconds and the tandem of freshmen Jonathan Poppele and Ben Macalalad combined for the other three Blugold victories.

Poppele won the 200-yard backstroke in 2:03.12, while Macalalad won both the 1,000 and 500 freestyle races with times of 10:21.06 and 5:00.90, respectively.

Women

The women’s team earned one victory and several second-place finishes in a 176-67 loss to the Eagles.

Freshman Angie Bakula won the 1,000 freestyle with a time of 11:03.08. Bakula also took second in the 500 freestyle, finishing in 5:22:52.

Fellow freshman Megan Lindner finished runner-up in the 50 freestyle with a time of 26.14. Sophomore Ann Grossklaus’ time of 56.11 in the 100 freestyle and senior Amanda Kroger’s 2:04.62 in the 200 freestyle were both good enough for second place.

Senior captain Sarah Myers turned in a solid performance for the women as well, finishing third on the three-meter board with 243.65 points and fifth on the one-meter board with 194.30 points.

“Sarah was really close to qualifying for nationals on the three-meter boards,” Beachel said. “She had a great performance out there.”

Outside of the pool, the Blugolds are preparing for their winter training trip in Puerto Rico. Instead of relaxing, Kollross said his team will be working extremely hard come January.

“The trip is punishing,” Kollross said. “We eat, sleep, and swim, we hold two-a-days . they’re not going to be taking a class or lounging around like most kids.”