UW-Eau Claire swim and dive team breaks records at WIAC championships

Blugold swim and dive breaks 16 school records at WIAC championships

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Editor’s note: Thomas Hensen is a member of The Spectator.

Members of the UW-Eau Claire swim and dive team were pushed to their limit day in and day out at practice for the first few months of the season, coach Annie Ryder said.

As the season progressed and the team was in their best shape just weeks before the conference championships, they began to taper in workouts.

Tapering, a part of the Blugolds’ training installed days before the conference championships, minimizes the swimmers’ and divers’ workouts to allow rest and optimum performance once the meet rolls around.

The tapering paid off, as the Blugolds shattered 16 schools records, sending 11 competitors to the national championships next month. However, Ryder said the competition will only get tougher.

“It’s a big challenge to just prepare mentally for nationals,” she said. “Usually we only have one or two qualify, but this year we have 11 so they will have to go into it all with a new mindset.”

The blugold women placed second overall, finishing just behind UW-La Crosse, while the men wound up in third place.

On the women’s side, freshman Sam Senczyszyn led the way as she was named the swimmer of the meet, winning the 200-yard breaststroke and breaking an NCAA Division III record with a time of 2:12.20. Senczyszyn also was victorious in the 400-yard freestyle relay with seniors Allie Hable and Maddie Gray, and sophomore Jessica Short as they set a school record with a time of 3:27.36.

The women weren’t done, though, as Senczyszyn broke the school record in the 200-yard individual medley, Hable won the 50-yard freestyle, Short won the 200-yard backstroke and freshman Hannah Sisto won the 200-yard butterfly.

On the men’s side, junior Ryan Young won the 200-yard butterfly in 1:51.62, while senior Thomas Hensen won the 200-yard backstroke, setting a school record. In the 200-yard freestyle relay, Hensen, junior Ben Fisher and sophomores Logan Coert and Jack Kelly broke a 16-year-old school record. Fisher also went on to tie the school record in the 50-yard freestyle.

A number of other relay teams and individuals for the Blugolds came home with top finishes throughout the weekend as well.

Ryder said this meet was the team’s focus throughout the whole season and was what they prepared themselves for through practice and dual meets, so it was nice to see the hard work pay off.

Ryder said the team focused a lot on goals throughout the season, and was able to come together as a cohesive unit.

“This team is really good at just coming together and as a team they really act as a family,” she said. “They really are one unit, and at our meets you’ll see the whole team lined up along the pool cheering and that says it all there.”

When it comes to preparation for nationals, Ryder said the team is all about staying focused and simply not staying content with just making the competition.

“We’re there to compete, be a force and get in the top-16 in as many events as we possibly can,” she said.

The men’s and women’s swim and dive teams will take the next couple of weeks to continue training as they ready themselves for the national meet March 16-19 in Greensboro, N.C.