Nov. 18, 2007
LONG BEACH, CA - LMU Swimmers posted lifetime-best performances at the UC Irvine/Nike Cup at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. LMU finished the meet with 176 points to earn 10th place of 22 teams that entered the highly competitive 3-day event. Pac-10 powerhouse UCLA was the top team in the competition with 1498.5 points, followed by BYU with 887, UOP with 795 and Rice with 727. The format of the meet returns the top-32 swimmers in each event to swim in the evening finals, with the top 24 scoring points.
Sophomore Trinity O'Neill led the Lions in the meet, scoring in two individual events, taking 17th place in the 400 Individual Medley with a new LMU program-record time of 4:33.29. Later in the meet, O'Neill added 13 points to the teams' total by placing 16th in the 200 Butterfly with a season-best time of 2:07.25 in the morning preliminaries.
On Thursday, sophomore Alicia Witter set the tone for the meet in the morning prelims by racing to a lifetime-best mark of 5:11.05 in the 500 Freestyle, shaving over 6 seconds from her previous best and recording the second fastest time in LMU history in the event. Sophomore Melanie Tansuwan was the leading Lion in the 200 Individual Medley with a lifetime-best time of 2:11.37. In the 50 Freestyle, three Lions made it into the evening finals, with senior Alex Wike leading the way with a 16th place finish. Wike's preliminary time of 24.17 proved to be a lifetime-best. Also turning in lifetime-best marks were sophomore transfer Megan Sawelson with a 24.60 good for 28th place, and freshman Carolyn Pasque with a 24.69 to earn 32nd. Sawelson, Pasque and Wike were joined by sophomore Alexa Cook to finish eighth in the 200 Freestyle relay at the start of the meet. Later in the evening, Wike and Witter teamed with senior Angela Samuels and sophomore Mallorie Lim for a 10th-place finish in the 400 Medley relay. Both the 200 Free Relay and 400 Medley Relay times were season bests for the Lions.
On Friday, the second day of the meet was ignited by O'Neill's school-record breaking swim in the 400 IM and six standout swims by fellow sophomore Witter. O'Neill's time of 4:33.29 lowered her previous record by 1.5 seconds, set in last year's PCSC conference finals. In the 100 Butterfly that followed, four lions posted season best swims, including junior Sierra Misquez who dropped three seconds off her personal best time with a 59.24 to qualify her for the evening finals along with teammates Lim, Tansuwan and Samuels. Lim finished the evening first among her Lion teammates in 25th place with a 58.92, followed closely by Tansuwan in 26th with a 58.95 and Samuels in 28th with a 59.22. Misquez finished 31st in the final with a time of 59.96. In the 200 Freestyle, Witter was the sole Lion to make the final in a very competitive field, finishing 26th with a season-best time of 1:55.84. In the finals of the day's other two events, Tansuwan placed 27th in the 100 Breaststroke with a season-best time of 1:09.64 and senior Kim McKay and Witter finished 31st and 32nd in the 100 Backstroke, respectively. In the first relay of the day, Witter teamed with Samuels, Lim and Wike in the 200 Medley for a 10th-place finish, turning in a season-best time of 1:49.80. In her sixth swim of the day, Witter was joined by Sawelson, Pasque and Rebecca Plume for an 8th place finish in the 800 Freestyle relay. Sawelson recorded a lifetime-best on the leadoff leg with a time of 1:55.83.
In the final day of the event, LMU again demonstrated its strength in the Freestyle sprint events with four Lions making the top-32 in the meet's most competitive event, the 100 Freestyle (177 entrants). LMU's sprint quartet of Sawelson, Wike, Pasque and Witter captured 17th, 21st, 24th, and 27th in the event, with lifetime-best marks for Sawelson (52.77), Pasque (53.46) and Witter (53.25) and a season-best time for Wike (52.98). The four returned later in the evening to take fifth in the 400 Freestyle relay with a season-best time of 3:30.39, narrowly missing the program record by less than a 10th of a second. Sophomore Kristen Lutjen was the leading Lion in the 200 Backstroke, swimming a lifetime-best 2:11.17, good for 29th place. Senior Alyssa Geraghty was the sole Lion finalist in the 200 Breaststroke, finishing 31st with a season-best time of 2:31.65. In the last event of the day, O'Neill returned for a 16th-place finish in the 200 Butterfly, recording a season-best time of 2:07.25. In addition, Tansuwan and freshman Katie Carmody touched the wall in season-best times of 2:11.77 and 2:12.77 to finish 29th and 32nd, respectively.
"Overall this was an incredibly strong meet for us and the energy and team spirit was at the level we left off last year at our conference championships." Head Coach Bonnie Adair said. "It was a perfect end to our fall season and now, after a short recovery period over the Thanksgiving holiday, we will return to some hard work in preparation for several key dual meets in January. This team has come together incredibly well and the rest of the season will be very exciting for us. We also just signed two key recruits for next year, so we are not going anywhere but upwards with the program."
LMU will return to the water on January 5 when it hosts UC San Diego in a 12 p.m. meet at Burns Aquatics Center.