Swimmers wrap up day one at Summit League Championships

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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The first day of the Summit League Championships included four relay events for the men and women swimmers. Eastern does not participate in the diving events.

Eastern competed in each of the four relay events and had one team on both the men’s and the women’s side score points for the Panthers. Eastern finished in sixth in each of the events.

The Panthers have just 10 seniors on the rosters combined, making them a young program, but there was one freshman on three out of the four relay teams that scored for Eastern.

Not only was Eastern able to score points in the relays, but they also earned best times in the events as well.

The night opened up with the women’s 200-yard medley relay. Freshman Lauren Oostman, senior Joann Wakefield, sophomore Dani DiMatteo and senior Kaylee Morris took sixth for Eastern with a season best time of 1:47.03

Coach Jacqueline Michalski was pleased with how everything went on the first day.

“The mindset is always to swim fast,” Michalski said.

The men followed up the women in the 200-medley relay with a sixth place finish of their own, also scoring points for Eastern.

Junior Brogan O’Doherty, sophomore Matt Jacobs, sophomore Stephen Truchon and junior Shane Witzki finished with a season best time of 1:32.75.

Although today’s schedule was much smaller, tomorrow will have four events. The women and men will swim the same events back-to-back for a total of eight. The swimmers will swim the preliminaries at 11 a.m. and come back for the finals at 6 p.m.

Even though there were fewer events Wednesday night, it can be tougher on the swimmers because they don’t have as many events to compete in.

“Having less events puts more pressure,” Michalski said. “You only have one event to focus on and only one chance to swim fast.”

The men and women had the same success in the 800-yard medley relay event.

Senior Kelsey Ferguson, freshman Martee Grainger, junior Paige Eavenson and senior Caitlin Danforth finished with a time of 7:57.52, a season best. Eastern does not usually swim this event in the regular season.

As Oostman and Grainger helped their respective relay teams score points, fellow freshman Nicholas Harkins helped sophomore Steve Fishman, sophomore Jennings-Soccorso McCoy and senior Jake Roberts earn a time of 6:57.41 in the 800-yard medley relay.

“(The freshmen) were nervous for the event, but were able to rise to the pressure of being on our scoring relays,” Michalski said.

Freshman Nicholas Harkins said coming in he wasn’t too nervous, but more excited to swim fast.

“Overall I’d say the first day went pretty well,” Nicholas Harkins said. “I feel my swim today set me up to do well the rest of the meet.”

The Panthers tapered the last two weeks in practice and Harkins said will help him swim faster times.

The Summit League teams will swim a majority of individual events on Thursday, but will open the day with the 200-yard freestyle relay.

The 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley and the 50-yard freestyle will follow. The men and women will each swim the events.

At the end of the first day Eastern has a combined team score of 104, putting them in sixth place out of seven teams. Eastern is just 17 points behind fifth place Western. Indiana-Purdue University Indianapolis sits in first with a combined team score of 196.


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