Swimmers look back on their season

Adam Shay, Swim Reporter


As the Summit League Championship approaches, the Eastern men and women’s swim teams look back to the beginning of October at their accomplishments this season.

Both swim teams have compiled winning seasons as the men’s team finished 4-1 in head-to-head meets, whereas the women’s team finished with 4-2.

For some swimmers, dealing with injuries has been a major concern to them throughout the season. However, despite their injuries, those swimmers have managed to push through the pain and compete at a high level.

One of those swimmers is junior Nick Harkins who has been dealing with a back injury since last season. When it came to the House of Champions meet, Harkins was unsure if he was going to be able to swim.

“It was bothering me at House of Champs this year to the point where I almost didn’t swim the 200-freestyle event,” Harkins said. “But, I went ahead and swam it and pulled off a season best time.”

Later in the day, Harkins swam a 200-yard freestyle again, but as a member of the 800-yard freestyle relay and despite the pain, he went even faster. That day was a huge confidence booster for him because even though he was in so much pain, I fought through and still raced well, Harkins said.

Prior to the race, Harkins was nervous about swimming the 200-yard freestyle and kept thinking he should not be swimming. That day though, Harkins had extra motivation to go out and compete.

“My mom had flown all the way from Arizona to see me so there was no way I wasn’t going to swim,” Harkins said. “About 50 [yards] into the race, my adrenaline kicked in and I couldn’t feel the pain anymore. I focused more on the race than my back and the results turned out well.”

Some swimmer’s personal achievements this year have not only been individual times, but accomplishments as a team.

“I think one of the biggest highlights was getting the pool record in the 800-freestyle relay at our last home meet,” junior Caro Lamarque said. “That record was one of the oldest records on the board and to beat it was an awesome feeling.”

With the help of senior Dani DiMatteo, junior Martee Grainger and sophomore Karleen Gernady, the four swimmers now hold the record for the 800-yard freestyle with a time of 7:57.76. The record was broken against Valparaiso during the Panthers’ senior night.

Before the relay, the quartet knew it was possible to break the record and as the event came closer, they made it a goal. For Lamarque, her goal was to mainly focus on swimming and to not put too much thought into the record.

“I didn’t want to mentally psych myself out, but the girls on the relay with me and the rest of the team was great at keeping us motivated to get it,” Lamarque said. “I went third in the relay so I had an idea of what time I needed to go to keep us on track to get it.”

There will be no meet this weekend as the Panther swimmers prepare for the Summit League Championship

Adam Shay can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]