Eastern swim teams have strong House of Champs meet

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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The Eastern men’s and women’s swim teams competed in the House of Champions meet over the weekend at Indiana-Purdue University Indianapolis and finished in 7th and 10th place.

The Panthers came in posting some of their fastest times as a team and it continued at the House of Champions as they were able to post some strong times and even land some in-season best times coming close to life-time bests.

In past years, Eastern has struggled to get swimmers into the “A” finals but were able to get a few there this year and coach Jacqueline Michalski said she was happy with how everything went this weekend.

“I was really happy with everyone’s performance,” Michalski said. “We were at a different point in our season compared to a lot of the other teams. All of the other teams kind of rested and tapered down for this meet and we didn’t really do that.”

She said since they didn’t rest or taper down and were still able to make finals and post good times was really impressive.

Senior Kelsey Ferguson took sixth place in the women’s 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:43.61 in the “A” finals, which was one of the best events the Panthers had Michalski said.
Ferguson, junior Paige Eavenson, senior Beth Houghton and freshman Caro Lamarque all posted in-season best times in the race. Ferguson is about a second away from her best time ever and Lamarque is half a second away from her best time ever.

Senior Kaylee Morris had an “A” final finish in the women’s 100-yard freestyle with a time of 52.88.

One of the strongest relays for the Panthers this weekend was the 200-yard medley relay according to Michalski.

The team of sophomore Steve Fishman, sophomore Brandon Robbins, sophomore Stephen Truchon and junior Shane Witzki finished with a time of 1:34.67.

“That race was really exciting to watch,” Michalski said. “They posted some of their fastest splits that they’ve ever done.”

Freshman Jennings Soccorso had a swim-off in the men’s 200-yard freestyle because he was tied for 24th place looking to get into the finals.

Soccorso won the swim-off with a time of 1:46.50, which was his fastest in-season time and about a half second away from his life-time best.

Michalski called it the most fun race to watch.

“He just got really pumped and excited for that race,” Michalski said.

Soccorso dropped two seconds from the time he posted just 25 minutes before.

In the second day of the meet the men had another pair of relay teams earn some points.

The relay team of Robbins, freshmen Nick Harkins, Leo Garofalo and Alex Laleian earned the 11th best time in the 800-yard freestyle relay with a time of 7:14.26. The team of sophomore Bryan McPherson, freshman Gerald Stingle, senior Dylan Ferguson and senior Kyle Ruckert took 16th place in the event with a time of 7:37.54.

For the freshman, this was their first real big meet of their collegiate careers and Michalski said they handled it well and performed well too.

“They all did really well,” Michalski said. “It is a really big meet for us so at times it can be a little intimidating.”

She said for them going in and being the “underdog” they stepped up did really well especially not being tapered down like the rest of the teams.

Freshman Lauren Oostman finished ninth in the women’s 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:05.95.

Harkins was another freshman who stepped up and got a personal in-season best best time in his 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:02.67 and half a second away from his life-time best.

The next time the Panthers will be in the pool will be Dec. 4 when they host Saint Louis in the Padovan Pool.


Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]