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Suzanne Starzyk was part of a medley relay win in her first SCIAC Championship race
Suzanne Starzyk was part of a medley relay win in her first SCIAC Championship race

CMS Women's Swimming Opens SCIAC Championship with Close Relay Win

COMMERCE, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's 200-yard medley team won by two-tenths of a second over Pomona-Pitzer in the first event of the 2020 SCIAC Swimming Championships at the Brenda Villa Aquatic Center on the first day of the four-day event on Thursday evening.

Both events were exceptionally close on the opening day with the Athenas taking the 200 medley relay, and Pomona-Pitzer coming up with a close one-second win in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The team scores, which include last weekend's SCIAC Diving Championships at Axelrood Pool, are as close as the relays were, with Pomona-Pitzer up by just one point, 209-208, over CMS with three full days still to come. 

The Athenas started off the swimming portion of the SCIAC Championships with a win to help set the tone after the Sagehens came into the weekend with a 35-point lead after diving. The medley relay team of first-year Jameson Mitchum (backstroke), first-year Suzanne Starzyk (breaststroke), junior Stephanie Lewis (butterfly) and junior Natalia Orbach-Mandel (freestyle) finished in 1:43.83 to edge out the Pomona-Pitzer team that clocked a time of 1:44.03. CMS also won the "B" relay heat by a convincing five-second margin, with junior Janet Tran, sophomore Rachel Wander, sophomore Ava Sealander, and junior Allie Umemoto earning a 1:44.85 to finish not far behind the top "A" relay finishers. 

CMS tried to make it a relay sweep in the 800-yard freestyle, but were edged by Pomona-Pitzer as the two powerhouse programs earned a split on the day. Mitchum pulled double-duty swimming the first 200 yards, while first-year Ella Blake, sophomore Augusta Lewis and junior Christina Campbell swam the final three legs of a team that finished in 7:33.68, just behind the 7:32.59 of the Sagehens. The CMS "B" team won the first heat to earn 20 points towards the CMS total (compared to 16 for the Sagehens), as first-year Gracey Hiebert, sophomore Natalie Larsen, sophomore Leila El-Masri and Umemoto won by almost six seconds with a 7:37.17.

Tomorrow's second day will get underway with prelims in the morning (9 a.m.) for the 500-yard freestyle, the 200-yard individual medley, and the 50-yard freestyle. Tomorrow's action will conclude with the  finals at 5 p.m., and the 200-yard freestyle relay at approximately 6:45 p.m.