Eastern women’s swim team wins at Valpo, men come close


Dominic Baima

Sophomore Matt Jacobs competes in the men’s 100-yard breaststroke on Saturday, Jan. 16 at Padovan Pool during the meet against Western Illinois.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s and women’s swim teams continued their success this weekend at Valparaiso with the women coming away with another win and the men losing by just 10.

The women won by a score of 160-87, the men lost by a score of 136-126.

The men may have lost the meet, but they did have seven first place finishers, including freshman Nicholas Harkins who won his first career individual meet.

Harkins took home first place honors in the men’s 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:02.86, a new in-season best for the freshman.

“That’s his first time winning individually in college,” coach Jacqueline Michalski said. “He was so excited about that. It was his first time he got to do ‘Hoo Ha how you feeling?’ and the team responds ‘Hoo Ha feelin’ good.’”

Michalski said it has always been a goal of Harkins to do the chant. The chant is done when one of the men win an event.

Also earning first place finishes for the men was junior Brogan O’Doherty in the 100-yard backstroke (51.77), sophomore Steve Fishman in the 50-yard freestyle (22.11) and in the 200-yard backstroke (1:57.07), freshman Jennings Soccorso-McCoy in the 500-yard freestyle (4:56.09), and sophomore Matt Jacobs in the in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:13.99).

The relay team of Fishman, sophomore Stephen Truchon, junior Shane Witzki, and O’Doherty took home first place honors in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Seniors Jake Roberts and Kyle Ruckert always have a friendly rivalry with each other in the 1000-yard freestyle as they usually finish right behind each other.

“Jake (Roberts) and I have an uphill battle against SLU due to their depth in distance events,” Ruckert said. “But I feel we’re in decent preliminary spots going into conference that will give us an opportunity to score.”

Sophomore Patrick Wood didn’t come away with a first place finish in the 100-yard butterfly, but he did earn an in-season best with a time of 55.56.

With all the training and the meets that the Panthers do, they are feeling very tired right now, Michalski said.

“Everyone’s body is desperately in need of a taper but I wont allow them to taper yet,” Michalski said. “It’s really hard to get up and swim when your body just wants to race. But that’s what they did, they got up and they raced and they swam.”

The women got off to a strong start by winning the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:52.53. Freshman Lauren Oostman, senior Kelsey Ferguson, sophomore Dani DiMatteo and senior Kaylee Morris were the four women who brought home the first place honor.

Oostman and Morris were apart of the 200-yard freestyle relay team that took first place with a time of 1:42.62. Freshman Martee Grainger and senior Caitlin Danforth were on the team as well.

Oostman said that the times were good for each relay team considering how hard they have worked all week.

Oostman also had an individual first place finish in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:01.34. Although this is her first year, she has been winning many events.

“As conference approaches, I have been getting a lot more nerves about my races and the meet,” she said. “I usually try to think about how hard I have worked this year and how it’s all going to pay off in the end.”

Grainger also earned an individual first place finish in the 200-freestyle with a time of 2:02.26.

The women had eight individual first place finishers. Morris won both the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle events as she has done many times this season.

Morris came in at 24.62 in the 50-freestyle and 54.00 in the 100-freestyle.

Ferguson also earned a first place finish in the 200-yard individual medley, just as Harkins did for the men. She finished with a time of 2:17.03.

The women have had a strong season with some wins to prove it. The men don’t have as many wins, but they have been getting faster each meet.

“(The men) are a lot faster than they were in the beginning of the year,” Michalski said. “The team has really grown a lot. I know our record may not show that but they’ve grown so much as a team.”

The men are a really young team as they only have three seniors and two juniors.

Michalski said that the future is bright for both teams.

Eastern will be at Saint Louis this weekend with a chance to get revenge on them after losing earlier in the year.


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