Swim teams in tough stretch of training


Rob Le Cates | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern sophomore Jackson Penny competes in the 400 yard medley relay against Ball State on Oct. 29 at Padovan Pool. Penny’s relay team finished fifth with a time of 3:46.81. The men’s swim team lost 161-95

Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

With three meets in the books for Eastern swim teams, head coach Tyler Donges said that the teams are in one of the toughest stretches of the season. 

Donges, who was hired as head coach in September, said that the teams have to put in hard work now to yield results later in the season. 

“Watching the team progress, we’re at that stage in the year where its really tough to watch, believe it or not,” he said. “They’re going through some of the hardest trials of their training in the way that we train prior to leaving for Christmas break. So right now its really hard to watch them train because they’re hurting so bad, but at the same time I know that the results are going to be at the end.”

Donges said that some of the results are beginning to show already.

“I’m seeing some of those results starting to peek their way out right now, it just shows how fast and how strong this team is going to be at the end of the day and at the end of the season.”

The Panthers are coming off a meet against Ball State at home Friday evening in which the men’s team lost 161-95 and the women’s team lost 174-84. Both teams are now 1-2 on the season. 

In the meet against Ball State, there were some strong individual performances for Panther swimmers, and Donges said that this is a result of the swimmers stepping up and competing at a high level. 

“We have people that are stepping up in super major ways,” he said. “More specifically just from the Ball State meet we had Spencer Wilson, who was a rock star in both the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle. That was his first time swimming the 500 freestyle with us at EIU, and he killed it.”

Wilson placed first in both of those events, swimming the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:44.83 and the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:52.60. 

Also getting first place finishes for Eastern in the Ball State meet were Emma Ballantyne and Joel Talley, who got wins in the women’s and men’s in the 200 individual medley respectively. 

Donges said that there were other swimmers who performed well even if they did not get a first place finish against a strong opponent in Ball State. 

“It was really nice to see swimmers from EIU holding their own against swimmers from a bigger program,” he said. “On the women’s side, seeing people like Kennedy Darensbourg continuing to get faster and faster. If you look at all of the meets we’ve had so far and you look at her 1,000 free time from Evansville to Ball State… she’s dropped a ton of time and gets faster each and every time.”

Darensbourg came in second in the 1,000 freestyle against Ball State with a time of 10:49.88, her fastest time of the season by nearly 17 seconds. 

She set a school record in the 1,000 freestyle last season with a time of 10:47.34. She also got a bronze medal at the Summit League Championships in the 1,650 freestyle and was given All-Conference honors in the event. 

Additionally, Monday marked two months since Donges was announced as the coach for Eastern swimming, and he said that his time with the program has been great so far. 

“Honestly, the role itself continues on a daily basis to be a dream come true,” he said. “This is everything I always wanted when I was coaching. I’m really glad that I’m here.” 

The Panthers will be back in action Nov. 11 through Nov. 13 in Carbondale for the SIU A3 Performance Invite. 


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