COMMERCE, Calif. – Both the men's and women's swim and dive teams delivered impressive performances for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps over the four day SCIAC Championships. The Stags slipped into the lead early on Friday and then it all came down to the 400-yard free relay to decide the team champion, beating Pomona-Pitzer 1030-1022. The Athenas held a 255 point lead coming into the day and extended it up to almost 300 for a final score of 1289.
The day started off with freshman Kendall Hollimon (CMC) winning the 1-meter diving competition with over 100 point margin over the next highest finisher. Junior Grant Murray (HMC) picked up crucial points for CMS in the 1M event as well, finishing seventh at 329.70.
Next, junior Elizabeth Carrade (CMC) set a new meet record in the 1650-yard freestyle with an exceptionally strong swim to win at 17.09.26. Carrade improved from third place in the same event in 2016. In the men's freestyle mile, freshman Ben Culberson (CMC) and Benjamin Brewer from Cal Lutheran pushed each other, both breaking the SCIAC record last set in 2014. Culberson's 15:33.89 was good for second place in the race and sets a new CMS record.
Ivy Chen (HMC) stepped up for CMS in the women's 200-yard backstroke. The freshman raced against six swimmers from Pomona-Pitzer in the championship final and won it with the time of 2:03.86, placing her at No. 2 in program history. The CMS depth in the men's 200 back helped the Stags to gain ground in the team competition. Senior Matthew Williams (CMC) won yet another individual event while the Stags had all four swimmers in the top-6. Williams went 1:48.06 in the event, followed by freshman Sam Willett (CMC) at 1:51.25.
The top sprinters in the conference raced in the women's 100-yard freestyle and then met up again later in the meet in the 400-yard freestyle relay. In the individual event, freshman Jocelyn Crawford (CMC) touched just 0.07 seconds after Madison Kauahi from Pomona-Pitzer for second place at 51.24. In a very tight race on the men's side, senior Graham Spurzem (CMC) swam the final 50 yards a second faster than Tim Polman from La Verne to take first at 45.45.
Freshman Claire Bacon-Brenes (SC) continued to set new personal bests, this time in the 200-yard breaststroke. Bacon-Brenes held a narrow lead throughout the race, tight with Ellie Jaques from Redlands, but then pulled away in the final 50 yards to win at 2:19.06.
Another freshman shone in the 200 breast. Henry Limm (HMC) swam the fastest final split in the pool at 31.93 to sneak into second place at 2:04.15 overall. Two more Stags finished in the top-5, quietly padding CMS' points lead.
Despite Sabrina Kwan from PP winning the 200-yard butterfly, the championship final was chalked full of CMS swimmers. Sophomore Naomi Ngo (CMC) earned second place at 2:07.33, slightly better than her best from 2016. Sophomore Aaron Lutzker (HMC) pushed the pace in the first half of the men's race and had more than a second's lead at the 100 yard mark. Then, sophomore John Everett (CMC) turned on the jets at the end to win at 1:50.49.
The Athena sprinters in both the "A" and "B" relays finished the meet with fireworks on Saturday night. In the consolation race, the third and fourth leg – sophomores Madison Blumer (CMC) and Riley Hoffman (CMC) – kept the race close and then ultimately won it by a mere 0.15 seconds. In the championship finals, all four Athenas swam splits under 53 seconds. Seniors Kelly Ngo (CMC) and Stephanie Doi (CMC) paired up with sophomore Emma Stacy (SC) and Crawford for the fourth best time in CMS history at 3:29.18.
Going into the final races of the meet, the Stags owned just a 24-point advantage over their rivals, Pomona-Pitzer. The Sagehens put together two big wins in both the consolation and championship finals, but the Stags finished in the top-4 in both races to hold on as the team SCIAC Champion.
After the last race, cheers of Stags and Athenas echoed throughout the Brenda Villa Aquatic Center as all team members and coaches celebrated in the pool.
This marks the 10th consecutive SCIAC championship and 37th overall for the Stags. The Athenas begin a new streak and tally the 18th title in program history.
By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director
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