The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Aquatics excel against Warhawks

    Before Saturday’s swimming and diving meet between UW-Eau Claire and UW-Whitewater began, freshman Nick Badilla joked about how the flashes from cameras were going to be distracting. Not too long after, things got a little more serious as the meet’s official had to make an announcement to address the number of camera flashes.

    It was “Senior Day” for five of the Blugold swimmers and many of them had their family and friends on hand to witness their final races at the McPhee Pool. Coach Art Brandt said some words about each senior individually, which prompted the photo opportunities to begin.

    “We had kind of a buildup during the week, I told the team the meet Saturday was for the seniors,” Brandt said. “Their parents were there and I just wanted to let people know how important it was for them to finish a college career and that all of them have done a very good job.”

    Once the number of flashes decreased though, the Blugolds got right down to business.

    The Blugold women handled the Warhawks with ease, defeating them 144-89. Eau Claire had nine first-place finishes while also taking eight second-place finishes. Sophomore Kirsten Lickel took the first-place position in the 1,000-yard freestyle while junior Casey Preissel finished the 200-yard freestyle in first. Other first-place finishers included freshman Hannah Ramquist in the 200-yard individual medley, sophomore Nicole Dorvinen in the 100-yard butterfly, senior Ann Grossklaus in the 100-yard freestyle and junior Megan Finley in the 100-yard backstroke. The 200-yard medley relay team completed its day with a first-place finish with a final time of 1:54.31. Freshman Katrina Fitzgerald led the divers in the one-meter event and the three-meter event with scores of 232.35 and 214.50, respectively.

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    “I think it was a lot of mixed emotions with it being the last time swimming as one big team swimming in our home pool,” Dorvinen said. “We went in and both sides wanted to beat Whitewater so I guess we were trying to put the sadness aside.”

    The men’s side fell just short of defeating the Warhawks 121-118, but coach Brandt said the margin of victory being so small was actually a good thing. The Blugolds had six first-place finishes and seven second-place finishes on the day, while the Warhawks ended with seven first place finishes.

    “The Whitewater men’s team has more depth and guys than we do and it wound up coming down to the last relay and the guys really did well,” Brandt said. “We lost the meet but it was OK.”

    Things on the men’s side seemed to change once sophomore Jon Poppelle won the 100 meter backstroke and junior Tommy Dahl came in fourth, Brandt said. It didn’t hurt either that the Blugolds took first, second and third in diving as Whitewater only had one diver.

    “I changed a lot of things around, clientele, at the end of the meet,” Brandt said. “We picked up a few more points and made it interesting.”

    The Blugolds will now prepare for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championships which will be contested Feb. 11-13 in Minneapolis, Minn. Brandt said some of the swimmers who will be at the event have already begun resting and that only some mornings and double workouts will be implemented before the Blugolds make the trip.

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    Aquatics excel against Warhawks