Men’s swimming sinks La Crosse in long-awaited win

Story by Martha Landry

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A win against UW-La Crosse for the first time in 10 years leaves the UW-Eau Claire swimming and diving men feeling confident for conference.

Although the Blugold women didn’t walk away with a win, Coach Art Brandt said they swam to the best of their ability and performed well.

 

Men’s

Going into the duel meet, sophomore Alex Card said the men knew it would be close, but were still confident in their success.

“I feel that we were ready to compete against La Crosse,” Card said. “We knew it was going to be one of our tougher meets. When we scored it out, we knew it was going to be a really close meet. It was those finishes in 4th and 5th place that were really going to help us.”

Card said he was expecting more people to have best times but felt they were really ready.  Card and his teammates achieved a best time in 800 yard freestyle relay with a time of 7:17.45.

Brandt said he felt confident after the first event in the men’s success. Junior Nick Badilla won diving for Eau Claire and Brandt said that really helped.

Senior Alex Plaetzer said if Badilla hadn’t performed as well as he did, it would have made winning the meet significantly harder.

“The fact that he won both the boards was absolutely huge for us,” Plaetzer said.  “We completely needed it.”

Women’s

The Eau Claire women were expecting a tough meet against La Crosse. Senior Kirsten Lickel said in terms of points, Eau Claire beat the Eagles in swimming.

Eau Claire had to catch up to La Crosse’s lead after the second round of diving.

Lickel added that the Blugold divers did perform well, but Eau Claire just couldn’t compete against La Crosse.

Brandt said going into the meet he wasn’t sure how the women would perform because everyone swam so fast the week before at the Falcon Invite, but  he ended up being very happy with the performances.

“They weren’t as fast as the week before but that doesn’t mean they didn’t perform to the best of their ability.

“I think we won the meet in the water,” Brandt said. “Our divers did fine, but La Crosse has really good divers.”

Lickel grabbed two second place finishes in individual races  — the 200 meter medley and 200 meter breaststroke. She said she was a little slower than the Falcon invite but was happily surprised with her times.

Lickel said the Blugolds’ performance against La Crosse showed that there are going to be strong competitors at conference.

“We knew it was going to be tough just because we know La Crosse’s divers are so good,” Lickel said. “We had to go in there being the underdog. I think we swam better than them and we really showed them that we are serious and can compete with them.”

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