Swim teams have record-setting day

Story by Frank F. Pellegrino

The men and women’s swimming and diving teams hosted their final dual meets against UW-Whitewater last weekend. It was the last chance for graduating swimmers to compete in front of a home crowd at McPhee Center.

Coach Art Brandt said everyone just wants to be in the best condition possible heading toward the conference meet, which is up next. Because of this, he said that swimmers had a variety of objectives against Whitewater.

Some swimmers that already knew they would be competing in the conference meet tried some events they don’t normally compete in, Brandt said. Others used the meet as a chance to rest entirely.

Even though many events against Whitewater featured swimmers holding back, there were still several noteworthy performers throughout the day.

 

Women

The women’s team earned top finishes in nine events on their way to a 147-96 victory.

Leading the way for Eau Claire were seniors Nicole Dorvinen and Julia Olson.

Dorvinen competed in two individual events, and came away with pool records in both. Her time of 10:33:69 in the 1,000-yard freestyle was nearly forty seconds faster than the second place finisher.

Dorvinen said the record had been on her mind since coming within a half second of breaking it earlier this season.

“I had been thinking about it ever since that La Crosse meet,” she said. “I wanted to take that pool record and finish my last meet at McPhee with a bang.”

Dorvinen’s other pool-record performance came in the 500–yard freestyle with her time of 5:10:34. The 500-yard pool record was set in 1982, and the 1,000-yard pool record was set in 1981, both by former Blugold Laura Ladwig.

Olson had strong performances in the 50-yard freestyle and as a member of the 200-yard medley relay. Her time in the 50-free was nearly a second faster than the runner-up, while less time than that separated second place from eighth.

The 50-free is Olson’s favorite event, and she thinks that’s a large factor in her success.

“It’s something that I just really enjoy doing,” Olson said. “And it’s always nice to touch the wall before people, especially because it’s a really short race.”

In the 200-yard medley relay, Olson and juniors Sara Eggebrecht and Grace Fair, along with sophomore Emily Behrens compiled a time of 1:51:76.

Olson said they all take the relay very seriously and that’s why she thinks the team put together such a strong race.

“Those girls work really hard,” she said. “We put a lot of time and energy into that relay to make it as fast as it is.”

Men

The men’s team fell to Whitewater 134-107, but still came away with first place in six events.

Coach Brandt thought overall there were many strong performances from the men. He said that although Whitewater took down the men’s team last year, Eau Claire still finished ahead of them at the conference meet.

“Our men were right where we would expect them to be,” he said. “Whitewater swam well against us last year too in a dual meet, so we’ll see what happens.”

Junior diver Nick Badilla had the strongest showing for the Blugolds against Whitewater. He took first place in the 3-meter dive with 304.65 points, while also earning first in the 1-meter dive with 286.95 points.

Badilla’s score in the 3-meter event doubled that of any competitor. And in the 1-meter event, no diver came within 100 points of him.

He said he was particularly pleased with how he competed in the 1-meter event.

“I started off very strong on the 1-meter diving board, and I knew I wanted to continue that after my first dive,” Badilla said. “I’m very happy with my 1-meter performance because that’s usually my weaker of the two boards.”

Freshman Jake McDade also stood out for the men’s team, with his strong showing in the 1,000-yard freestyle. McDade was nearly even with two Whitewater swimmers for much of the race but ended up pulling away in the last two laps.

Badilla said McDade’s race really stood out during the meet.

“Going into the last two lengths (McDade) just turned it on, and took it home,” Badilla said. “That was really cool to see after he was neck and neck for three-fourths of the race.”

McDade also came away with a victory in the 500-yard freestyle with his time of 4:55:18.

Next up for both the men and women’s teams is the conference meet Feb. 16-18. Both teams will take their top 18 performers to compete for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title.