Stay Connected


Subscribe by Email

Swimming wins three meets, looks toward MWC meet

February 3, 2012


Noel Keyes/ The Courier - A member of the Monmouth College swim team practices for the freestyle competition. The swim team heads to the Midwest Conference meet Feb. 17-19 in Appleton, Wis.

While almost all Monmouth College students were resting over break, the men’s and women’s swim teams arriving back on campus on Jan. 2 to push towards conference by having two-a-day practiced that consisted of swimming, running, and lifting weights.

“We went through our toughest training during break,” said head coach Alex De la Pena. “It was the highest volume (amount of yards) and intensity that we trained at all year.”

Over break, the team had five dual meets, three conference, followed with a challenge against Division I opponent Valparaiso. The men’s team finished the break going on a 4-1 tear as the Fighting Scots crushed their opponents. The men’s team edged out North Central 56-33, beat Illinois College 139-64, topped Knox 123-76, clipped Millikin 73-66 but eventually lost a tough match to Valparaiso 36-57. Sophomore Gabe Baginski and Senior Josh Dunn led the way for the men’s team as they earned Midwest Conference performers of the week. Baginski went 8-for-8 in all of his events placing first in the 200 fly finishing with a personal best 2:16.69 and finished first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:50.87 beating his opponent by 5 seconds. Baginski closed out his last event swimming as the lead off leg of the winning 400-yard freestyle relay that consisted of Baginski, senior Joe Tesotlin, junior James Corbeil and sophomore Brett Dunn. The relay won by almost a full minute with a time of 3:35.84. Brett Dunn won all four of his events against North Central, finishing with a time of 55.39 in the 100-yard backstroke and 49.47 in the 100-yard freestyle.

“In the past three weeks, every meet we have gone to we have been outnumbered,” said Dunn. “That never phased us nor did it change the way we swam. We are a small team but a powerful and talented one as well.”

The women’s team did not let the men steal the show as they also dominated their opponents. Sophomore and Midwest Conference performer of the week, Erin Willhite, led the Lady Scots to a 3-2 record. The Lady Scots started with a lost to North Central 64-31, but then paced to three straight wins against Illinois College 167-64, Knox 131-119, Millikin 105-85 before falling to Valparaiso in a close 36-57. Willhite swam the week of her life, finishing with eight first place finishes that included a personal best in the in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:28.52 and anchored three first place relays. Other top swimmers included juniors Erica McAloon, Amanda Zaidel and senior Krysta Sparks.

“The team did a phenomenal job over break,” said De la Pena. “Everyone remained positive and worked extremely hard. We elevated the expectations for this team across the board and they have stepped up in every way possible to make themselves and the team better.”

Both teams will now focus on the Midwest Conference Championships on Feb. 17–19 in Appleton, Wis.

“As we move through taper we will be cutting out the weights and prepare for MWC’s,” said De la Pena. “We are going to continue to get more specific without practices by focusing more on race pace sets.”

Both teams hope to improve on their finishes from last years conference championships. 

“The team goal we set at the beginning of season was to place third in the conference,” said Zaidel. “We have all been working very hard, and I think that will definitely pay off when it comes to race time and we all our ready to take on the challenge.”

Ken Collins
Contributing Writer

Be Sociable, Share!