The final splashdown

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Photo courtesy of LC Athletics

LC Swimming competes at the Northwest Conference Championship

By Peter Melling /// Sports Editor 

From Feb. 13 – 15, the men’s and women’s swimming teams headed to Corvallis, Oregon to compete in the Northwest Conference Championship Meet. Even though they finished in eighth place, there were many standout performances from both first-year and veteran players. How were they able to put together such performances?

From the minute the team arrived at the Osborn Aquatic Center, there was never a dull moment for the Pioneer swimmers. The Pios energetically cheered on their teammates from the sideline, greeting each other as their events ends. Libby Bissen (’16) said, “It is amazing to see all of our team members cheering each other on and being just as happy about each others’ successes as we are about our own.” Anna James (’18) said, “It was great to see us all competing for something bigger than ourselves, we were doing it for each other and for the team.”

Plenty of Pios had standout performances at the meet. In the Saturday finals, Lucia Brammer (’18) swam the 400-yard medley in 4:58.68 for 13th place, Monica Castro (’15) finished the 100-yard butterfly in 1:01.05 for 13th place and Zac Oser (’17) completed the 100-yard backstroke in 55.47 for 13th place.

These successes continued into the Sunday finals, where both Anna James (’18) and Libby Bissen (’16) finished the 1650-yard freestyle in the top 20 (at 11th and 16th with times of 19:12.46 and 19:31.52, respectively). On the men’s side, Trevor Schapiro (’15) and Zac Oser broke school records for the 1000-yard freestyle and the 200-yard backstroke, respectively.

The championship meet was also the culmination of nine first-year swimmers’ seasons. On how the freshman adapted to their new environment, James said,  “We are most definitely a unique group and that speaks to our swimming as well. Every single freshman scored points for our team at conference championships, whether that be individually or on a relay. I think that shows how much we have matured considering some of us had never even swam on a club team. I couldn’t have asked for a better freshman class to start college with.”

Bissen agreed with this sentiment and said, “Our freshmen are absolutely a key part of our team and really contributed so much both with their swimming and their personalities. It has been very exciting over the course of the season to see them improve in their swimming as well as become such key members of our team in all ways.”

While the team did not place as well as they wished in the championship meet, the future looks bright for the team. When asked about her thoughts on the season, Bissen said, “We saw so many of our swimmers improve over this season and do really well at the Conference championship this year. This was a growing season for us and I am excited to see what that means we can do next year.”

James added, “I definitely think there is a lot more to come from this group of people. I think the team has become closer over the course of this season, we really are like a family. There were two school records broken and multiple personal records broken at conference championships and I think that is a very good indicator to where the team is heading.”

Even as the season ends, the swimmers are already looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that next year will bring. When contemplating the future, James said, “The thing I am most looking forward to about next season is growing as a team, both in numbers and in swimming. There seems to be a want to work harder and do more from everyone on the team at the end of this season. I am excited to see where that takes us and how it shapes our seasons to come.”

Bissen, who will be heading into her senior season next year, added “I am so sad that I only have one season left but after seeing our growth this year I am really excited to hopefully see us do even better next year. Since we are only losing two seniors, it is a great opportunity for us to really expand our team and become more competitive in the future.”

With all of the lessons learned and skills honed this season, the swimming Pios will be on the track for success for many years to come.

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photos courtesy of LC Swimming

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