Swim teams set for Summit League Championship


File Photo

Eastern freshman Jarod Farrow swims in a meet against Saint Louis on Oct. 19 in Lantz Arena. The Panthers travel to the Summit League Championship on Wednesday.

Tom O'Connor, Swim Reporter

Reflecting on the 2018 Summit League Championships, sophomore Race Archibald wants to create new memories, ones that could replace the old.

“Yes, I did get season bests last year, but to be honest, I don’t think I swam all that well last year,” Archibald said. “I’m hoping to redeem myself this year and create new memories.”

Eastern men’s and women’s swimming coach Jacqueline Michalski does not recall a team more enthused for a championship rush than the roster under her tutelage this season.

After a season in which Eastern failed to tread in the same pool of Summit League foes, except for a sweep versus Valparaiso last Saturday, Michalski envisions a team for poised for another round of feats.

“I do think we will see some records fall this year,” Michalski said. “We have already had some records fall from a number of younger men, so I am looking forward to what our team can do.”

Between the men’s and women’s teams, there are 15 freshman eligible to compete this week, among the youngest rosters in the Summit League.

What they lack in experience, Michalski said, they compensate for through their fervent animation, adding that from where she sees it, youth makes little difference.

“I don’t think the year that you are has a huge effect on it,” Michalski said. “I think, if anything, having such a young team, the excitement towards their first conference championship meet only brings excitement to everybody.”

Showing marked improvement over the previous year, the Eastern men’s swimming team placed fifth at the Summit League Championship last year.

That season prior, in 2017, they were completely out of contention, holding a last place finish among the pack.

Since Eastern has no diving team, a category factored into the final score, the team is fixed at somewhat of a competitive disadvantage.

With that aside, Michalski anticipates that her swimmers have the potential to exceed individual records, perhaps considering the sheer number of swimmers who broke records at last season’s championship.

Lauren Oostman topped the school record for 100-yard backstroke at a time of 56.78, far faster than she expected heading into the championship.

Six championship hopefuls will converge on the Midco Aquatic center, with Denver, widely considered favorites to take first at the championship, competing at the tournament.

All five of the fastest times for the men’s 50-meter free style belong to Denver, while four of the top five season records for the Women’s 200-meter freestyle can be attributed to the Pioneers as well.

In fact, the Pioneers are quite well represented, as one or more Denver swimmers hold a top five time in each swim event.

With the talent all in one place, and the ramifications glaringly stark, Archibald kept himself composed ahead of the championship push.

“To me, if you see the meet as bigger than others, you’ll psych yourself out,” Archibald said. “I stay cool and collected throughout the week.”

Tom O’Connor can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]