Even though Valpo swimming did not win the Horizon League Tournament, the team finished the 2016-17 season strong and with new school records set by junior Max Penn.
Penn broke his own record in the 100-meter backstroke and broke Valpo’s 200-yard backstroke record twice, which was also held by Penn going into the tournament.
During the third day of the tournament, Penn swam a time of 50.66 in the preliminary race to break the Crusader record in the 100-meter backstroke and nearly broke his own record in the finals where he touched the wall with a time of 51.00. Penn finished 12th overall for the 100-meter backstroke.
During the preliminary race for the 200-meter backstroke, Penn set the new school record with a time of 1:51.23 and then set the record again in the finals with a time of 1:50.68, finishing 11th in the event.
“We had our ups and downs during the tournament,” coach Howard Hunte said. “(We had) the records broken by Max (Penn) and we came close to breaking a few others, and we had several (personal) best times. Overall, it was a positive experience.”
On the women’s side, sophomore Betsy Pogue set a new personal record in the 1650-meter freestyle with a time of 19:04.43 and senior Emily Trimpe swam a season-best 2:23.99 in the 200-meter breaststroke. Senior Rachel Law finished her Valpo career with a time of 17:59.29 in the 1650 freestyle, placing 16th in the event.
At the end of the Horizon League Tournament, the men finished with 148 points in 7th place, and the women had a total of 95 points placing them in 8th.
Hunte also noted that the younger swimmers, especially the freshmen, gained some valuable experience going into next season by competing against other Horizon League schools.
“(The younger swimmers) got to see what conference competition looked like,” Hunte said. “Going into next season, the women will be stronger, and the men will be more mature to handle the adversities of conference.”
Going forward with the young team, the swimmers can only improve both mentally and physically as they head into the offseason and come back to Valpo stronger than ever next fall.