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Swimming takes on conference

February 23, 2018

MC Swim and Dive

The 2017-2018 Swimming and Diving Midwest Conference Championships began and ended with a bang for the Fighting Scots. During the first night of finals last Friday, the Monmouth College 400 Medley Relay record was broken again by previous record holders Riley Hess, Tom Cangelosi, Jake Hall, while new-comer Preston Bocchi was added to the title. Hall commented that breaking the record again was a needed boost for the team. “Breaking a school record on the first day of conference was a morale and motivation boost for the rest of the team. The six-session meet inevitably drains everyone’s energy and it is fun to see a season of tough training pay off like that on the first day.” Aside from the other relays, there were seven Scots performing individually at finals on Friday with a combined total of 117 points leading into Saturday morning.

The second day was riddled with even more success with 12 individual swims making it to the finals. One of which was Bocchi’s first place win in the 100-yard backstroke. The freshman also managed to break the Monmouth 100 backstroke record by over a second. Bocchi commented on what it felt like winning an event as a freshman. “It is a crazy thing for sure. You walk into the event with people rooting for and against you, like any other sport, but after you win everyone knows your name. I had people coming up to me asking if I was Preston. It was surreal every time.” Freshman Miranda Pasky also made her name known by clinching fifth place in the 100-yard breaststroke. Pasky said that she is looking forward to next season so that she can try and get a medal next year. In the words of senior Tom Cangelosi, the “sweetest part of conference” was when he out-swum longtime Illinois College rival, Oak Wattanasirakul, by almost exactly two seconds. Collectively, the Fighting Scots pulled together 213 points on the second day.

The last day of the Midwest Conference swim meet was one to remember as 10 individual swims made it to finals including all the breaststrokers who competed in prelims. Once again, Bocchi managed to swim an event-winning time of 1:53.66 in the 200-yard backstroke, also breaking a Monmouth record. Once the individual events were completed, the event that everyone waits in anticipation for was at hand for the Fighting Scots. The 400-freestyle relay was led off by Hess and followed by junior Logan Hoepfner, Hall, and Bocchi. The relay managed to break the Monmouth record by .99 seconds. Hess commented on his career-ending swim and how gratifying it was. “Ending my career on such a high note fills me with joy and contentment. I am glad after all this time I can finally ‘retire’ with my head held high and be temporarily immortalized with some of my best friends.”

Head coach Tom Burek said that out of 69 individual swims, both prelims and finals, the team had 64 best times. “We had similar performances in improving our ‘finals’ swims. We talked all season about how fast we need to be in the end and how we needed to “step it up” for finals.” Coach Burek also noted how proud he was of the seniors and how they all managed to swim in the finals. The combined total of the men’s and women’s teams’ points was 466. Congratulations to the men’s and women’s swim and dive teams on a successful season!

Riley Hess
Editor in Chief

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