Individual wins outweigh swim team losses

Written by: Julia Taylor

In back-to-back meets, the Tars Swim Team pushed to a new level after an intense week of practice.

Both the men’s and women’s teams lost to St. Leo University. At Lynn University, the men grabbed an impressive 164-95 win, while the women lost by a close margin. 

However, this is a part of Interim Head Coach Julianne Lehner’s plan. Her focus is set on three weeks in the future during the team’s mid-season meet, the Panther Invitational. 

Lehner kicked up the intensity in training this past week to get her team ready for what is to come. 

Lehner said, “I knew it was going to be a tough meet for them because of the kick-up of intensity we had this week in practice. There was not a single day this week that we were not racing, doing something fast, or aerobic.” 

After their loss in Tampa, Lehner pushed the Tars to try new warm-ups. 

“I was super impressed with the way they responded to changing up the warm-ups. The ones who did it saw some good swims, and that is not by coincidence,” Lehner said. 

Due to the increasing difficulty of practices and nonstop meets, Lehner organized the Tars’ Friday meet into short events. Therefore, the meet was made up of largely 50- yard events and 100-yard events, with an exception to the 1000-yard and 500-yard freestyles.

“I think the swimmers that swam both 50 and 100 realized they can go out in a 100 faster than they think,” Lehner said. 

After a tough week, the Tars still had a number of notable swims last Friday against St. Leo University. 

In the men’s 1000-yard freestyle, Connor Xu (‘23) and Daniel Liew (‘23) swam with consistent 50 splits throughout, taking second and third places, respectively. Shortly after this race, Liew took first in the men’s 100-yard butterfly.

In the women’s 100-yard butterfly, Beatriz Oliveri (‘22) came first, with Emily Hennessy (‘23) and Erika Wesch (‘23) coming in third and fourth respectively. 

The Lady Tars also took first in the 100-yard backstroke. Marisa Gingerich (‘21) swam a time of 1:00.17, over three seconds ahead of St. Leo’s second-place swimmer. 

Jullian Hughes (‘23) swam a strong 500-yard freestyle, battling for first until the last 25 yards of the race, missing the win by milliseconds.

“The swimmer next to me fought hard and she out-touched me by less than a second. This gives me a starting point of what to focus on before the Panther Invitational,” Hughes said. 

In the men’s 50-yard butterfly, Chase Benton (‘21) swam a time of 24.05. Not only did he place first in his event, but it was also his first individual win of the season.

“My first individual win of the season was really exciting,” Benton said. “Across the board, we had some outstanding individual performances. I think if we can focus a little bit more during the week we will be able to be that much better when it comes time for competition.”

Over the next three weeks, the Tars will concentrate single-mindedly on their preparations for the Panther Invitational.

Overall, Lehner was proud of her swimmers’ performances, especially their energy, good attitudes, and how they handled themselves in their races. 

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