Both swim teams competed last weekend at the second annual swimming and diving conference championships. The women’s team placed third out of six teams, and the men placed fourth.
AU does not currently have a diving team, so they were unable to capture as many total team points as other conference schools. The women tallied 320 points, just 19 points behind Rose-Hulman. The ladies had the highest score for a team not receiving diving points.
The men posted a score of 173.5, coming in second for a non-diving school. They came close to defeating Hanover, but were unable to pass the Panthers on the final day of competition.
“AU’s swimming is a resilient program,” said interim head coach Megan Wills. “The team has faced challenges each season, and only being in our third season, it continues to show that it is an outstanding program.”
Wills took the job midseason after former swim coach Conner Snare accepted an assistant coaching job at Michigan State. She was recognized by the HCAC as the women’s swim coach of the year. “The award was definitely unexpected, especially with all of the other amazing coaches that are part of the conference,” added Wills. “But it was encouraging for our women’s team after how hard they worked to be recognized. I truly believe they were the reason for the award, and I was just lucky to be their coach and be on the sidelines cheering them on this past season.”
Several Ravens had strong performances this past weekend. The team of Conner Page, Josh Ekberg, Kris Keller and Bryce Holt came in third in the men’s 400-yard relay and fourth in the 200-yard medley relay. The Ravens also came in fourth in the 400 and 800-yard freestyle relays.
“This year was the same story as last year,” said Keller. “With no diving team and our numbers being limited, we have to go out every day and compete. We try to prove to everyone even though we are a small team, that we can do amazing things. This year we saw major time improvements and new school records, further showing how hard we work.”
The women placed third in several team relays, lead by Claire Leibold and junior captain Emma Maubach. Leibold also finished fourth in two individual events, the 500 and 1650-yard freestyle relays.
“I am so incredibly proud of our team,” said Maubach. “The fact that we got third by only 19 points is truly outstanding for not having divers. It was amazing considering last year we were fifth out of five teams. It’s great to see our hard work pay off and to see how talented our team is and will continue to be.”
The program just finished its third season and has continued to see improvement in both individual and team results. Even with Snare’s unexpected departure, the swimmers were able to maintain focus and post impressive numbers for such a new program.
Wills has decided not to accept the position of full time head coach, and the school will begin their search for a new coach in the upcoming weeks.
“I’m thankful for all the hard work and dedication Coach Wills has for this team,” added Maubach. “Hopefully with the hiring of a new head coach, it’ll give our team a new set of eyes to see fresh talent and where our team can go from here. We have a lot of young talent, and I’m excited to see where our team goes.”
In Wills’ time as coach, the women won four meets and the men won their first ever head-to-head contest. Both teams had their best records in the program’s history.
“We are hoping to grow into having a diving program someday, but we are continuing to recruit excellent student athletes and make this a team people want to be a part of,” Wills added. “Whoever steps into the head coach position will be a lucky individual. This team is special, and they are going to continue to stand out amongst the other great teams. It was an honor to be the interim head coach of such a great team.”
Neither swim team has any seniors this season. Next year they expect to have their biggest teams yet, loaded with many experienced swimmers.