Panthers seeking record championship


Sean Hastings

Senior Brandon Robbins swims the men’s 100-yard butterfly Jan. 20 at the Padovan Pool against Valparaiso. Robbins took third in the event with a time of 55.17 seconds. The Panthers are gearing up for the Summit League Championships.

Adam Shay, Swim Reporter

The Eastern men’s and women’s swim team have the weekend off before they conclude their season at the Summit League Championship.

Last year at the championship, the Panthers finished their season by setting three new school records: the 100-yard individual medley record for both men and women, and the men’s 200-yard breaststroke. Both swim teams finished last out of seven.

Leading up to the championship, the Panthers have a two-week rest and as of now, they are a little over a week into it. However, the rest does not mean the Panther swimmers have time to relax.

“During the rest, we take down the yardage, and focusing more on speed and spring work,” said junior Nick Harkins.

The Panthers look to improve their rankings from last year, specifically practicing on the little things to keep them on track, junior Martee Grainger said. For this season’s championship, the 200-yard medley and the 400-yard medley stand out to be broken, she said.

“It’s a little bit of a stretch, but definitely a possibility,” Grainger said.

Grainger’s swim concentrations include short distance freestyle, such the 200, 100 and 50-yard freestyle, as well as the 100-yard backstroke. Grainger said she wants to make it in the top 10 for every event she swims with potentially breaking those two relay records.

Panther swimmers on the men’s team also have confidence in breaking school records.

“I think we have a good chance of breaking all five relay records, and I hope to be on a few of those,” Harkins said. “Individually, I’m trying to get onto the top 10 all-time list.”

The championship spans across four days from Feb. 14 to Feb. 17. Each day hosts a different event, something the Panther swimmers must adjust to.

“Every day is a different event, which is also a different race strategy, so I need to make sure I stay focused and take one day at a time,” said junior Caro Lamarque. “My biggest goal is to drop time in my events and as for the team, the goal is for everyone to drop time and have people make finals.”

Swimmers usually focus on specific events and swim styles; however, that has not been the case for Lamarque. Lamarque said this conference will be different for her because she has been changing events throughout the season.

Three of those different events for Lamarque are the 100, 200 and 500-yard freestyle events.

What is different for the women Panthers this year is their team record going into the championship. Compared to last year’s 3-6 record, the women have improved to 4-2 this year, giving the team more confidence.

“Keeping a happy mindset is important,” Grainger said. “The team is at a really good place. We all are nervous, but excited and ready to race.”

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