Valpo swimming started 2020 off with a bang in their most recent home tournament. This past Saturday, Jan. 18th, both the mens and womens teams faced off with Western Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University. Both teams were victorious against Western but later fell to Eastern. The day contained both wins and losses, but Head Coach Maggie Kroemer counts the meet as a whole as a win.
“This was the first time that the men beat Western in ten years and the first time the women beat Western since 2014. Those are really good wins for us,” Kroemer said.
And even though they weren’t able to pull off a win against Eastern, the team has improved since the last time the two schools competed.
“For the women, it was very close against Eastern. We only lost by three points and when we competed against them earlier in the season, we lost by 60 points. So it was a really good effort by both our men and our women,” Kroemer said.
The meet started off with a win by the women in the 400 medley relay. The relay team consisted of freshmen Sophie Morelock, Mikayla DePover, and Morghan Markley, as well as senior Erica Martins.
Senior Paige Wright later pulled off a first place finish in both the 500 free and 200 free, as well as a second-place finish in the 1,000 free.
DePover also captured two first place finishes in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 breaststroke.
On the men’s team, freshman Brian Daniels led the charge with two individual wins in the 1,000 free and the 500 free.
Sophomore Dominic May captured a second place finish in the 100 free event, and later grabbed two third place showings in other events. Sophomore Derek Eidson took second in the 100 fly event.
The men ended the day with a win by relay team Eison, Daniels, May and Senior Austin Scheer.
In addition to the strong performances across the board, Saturday’s meet was special for another reason; it was Senior Night. Like most sports teams, senior night is an anticipated occasion for the swim teams.
“I think it’s good to recognize [the seniors] for competing for four years in Division I athletics. It’s just a good way to recognize their accomplishments and say ‘thank you for your service to the team,” Kroemer said.
Senior athletes generally play a key role on most sports teams, and the swim team is no different.
“Our seniors do well with leadership and just setting an example and a good tone [for the rest of the team]. Three of our seniors are team captains this year… They’ve done a good job of helping out their younger teammates,” Kroemer said.
It really came as no surprise that the seniors, and the team as a whole, performed so well this past Saturday, however, they’ve been doing so all season long.
“A couple of seniors have broken school records this year. Erica Martins broke the 100 butterfly record, Paige Wright broke the 200 freestyle record and Erica and Paige were part of the 400 medley relay team that clobbered the old school record along with two of our freshmen,” Kroemer said.
And in regard to the rest of the season, the team is working toward one event.
“Conference. That’s the meet that [the team] is going to [prepare] for. They will really break [even] more records there and accomplish more goals,” Kroemer said.
Valpo swimming will next appear in Mishawaka, Ind., against Bethel on Jan. 24 and the meet will begin at 5p.m.