Eastern Swim teams finish regular season

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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The regular season is over for the Eastern men’s and women’s swim teams, and they now prepare for the Summit League Conference meet Feb. 17-20.

The women finished with a 5-6 record overall and the men finished 1-8 overall.

While the records may not show it, the Panthers were swimming much faster this year than years past.

This season included many personal bests, and first career wins and contributions from freshmen to seniors.

The men have a very young roster this year and have shown on multiple occasions that the future is bright for the squad.  There were only three seniors and three juniors on the roster with eight freshmen.

Seniors Kyle Ruckert, Jake Roberts, and Dylan Ferguson have led the Panther’s young roster this season. The three have been close friends since their freshman season. Ruckert and Roberts both swim the distance events and push each other to get better, Ruckert said.

Ruckert has a top time of 10:26.22 in the 1000-yard freestyle, and Roberts has an in-season best of 10:15.90.

While the seniors have been posting fast times, the freshman have also had strong starts to their respective careers.

In the team’s most recent meet, freshman Jason Manning dropped nine seconds in the 500-yard freestyle relay from his previous best time. The week before, freshman Nicholas Harkins earned his first career individual win. Harkins took first in the 200-yard individual medley, and then took second place over the weekend losing by less than a second.

Freshman Alex Laleian earned a first place finish in the men’s 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:01.39 back on Nov. 7 when the Panthers hosted and defeated Valparaiso on both the men’s and women’s sides.

The women on the other hand, have a more experienced team with seven seniors on the roster and just four freshmen. But, just like the men, have had contributions from all levels.

Senior Kaylee Morris was arguably the most consistent swimmer for the women as she won all but one 50-yard freestyle event in which she competed. She won all but two 100-yard freestyle events that she was in. Her in season best time for the 50-yard freestyle is 24.44 seconds. Her time of 52.45 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle at the House of Champions is an in-season best.

Morris holds the school record in both the 50 and 100-yard freestyle. She set both records last year.

Freshman Lauren Oostman has also seen her fair share of first place finishes this year. Oostman swims the 100 and 200-yard backstroke events. She has also seen time in the 500-yard freestyle.

Oostman swam an in season-best time of 59.68 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke at the House of Champions meet. She also posted an in season-best time of 2:05.95. She is just two seconds shy of breaking the 200-yard backstroke record and three seconds shy of the 100-yard backstroke record. Former Panther Amy Smith, who was a freshman at the time, currently holds both records.

Oostman said at the beginning of the year that breaking both records were goals of hers.

The Panthers have just the Summit League Conference meet remaining on the schedule. Eastern’s main focus all season is on the conference meet.

Indiana-Purdue University Indianapolis will host the meet Feb. 17-20. The men and women both took last place in last year’s conference meet. However, both men and women are swimming much faster in their respective events so it will be interesting to see how things play out this year.

 

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