{{ article.title }}

Lions Open Swim Season

Oct. 10, 2007

When Head Coach Bonnie Adair was hired in 2004 as LMU's first full-time women's swim coach, she brought in a large recruit class of 14 freshmen, doubling the size of the existing swim team. After decades of lingering in ninth and tenth place in the 14 team Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference, the Lions started making their mark by winning dual meet competitions. Their continuous hard work has allowed them to move from eighth in the PCSC in 2004, to fourth in 2006, to a program's best second place last year in 2007. As her first recruiting class begins their senior year, not only has the LMU swim program come full circle, Adair has turned LMU into a contender for the PCSC title. Adair will once again be assisted by Clay Evans and Joanne Reierson.

The Lions are coming off their best season in the history of the program, highlighted by 12 new school records and four PCSC event titles. LMU concluded the 2006-07 regular season 7-5 in dual action, marking the programs third straight winning season under coach Adair. The seven dual victories are the second-highest in program history. LMU swimming posted its best finish at the PCSC Championship, finishing second of 14 teams with 1049.5 points. Five Lions were honored with All-PCSC recognition, PCSC Championship triple winner Lauren Mathewson, Morgan Finley, Alex Wike, Trinity O'Neill and Angela Samuels were selected to the all-conference team. The five LMU selections mark the most swimmers the Lions have ever placed on the PCSC all-conference team.

Recently graduated, Mathewson and Finley left their own historical marks on the LMU swim program. Mathewson earned numerous accolades during her four years as a Lion. She won five individual PCSC titles and three 200 medley relays. As a senior, her three PCSC event titles came in the 50 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke, earning her PCSC Swimmer of the Year honors. She shattered the conference records in the 100 backstroke and as the leadoff swimmer in the 200 medley relay. Her 50 backstroke split on the relay was one of the five fastest times in the nation. Mathewson graduated in May as the school record holder in both the 100 and 200 backstroke and in four relay events: the 200 and 400 medley relays and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

Finley earned her all-conference selection for her third place finish in the 200 breaststroke and her leg of the 200 medley relay. The 200 medley relay Finley competed in along with Mathewson, Samuels and Wike, shattered the existing meet record by over a second en route to the Lion victory. With the absence of both Mathewson and Finley, this year's team is prepared to fill the gap with its depth and leadership, returning nine seniors and 11 Conference Top-10 finalists.

Leading the way for the seniors will be Team Captains Angela Samuels and Maggie Brophy, two swimmers that have placed in the Top-10 in all three of their individual events since their freshman year. Samuels is the current program record holder in the 100 Butterfly and Brophy holds the 500 and 1000 Freestyle records. Also returning as part of the senior class, are sprinter Alex Wike and Liz Magura. Wike had a standout junior year with a third place finish in the 50 freestyle and a sixth place finish in the 100 freestyle. Magura placed in the Top-10 in the 200 and 400 individual medley races and the 100 freestyle. Alyssa Geraghty, Christine Gore, Kim McKay, and Alicia Royal also return as scoring members of the senior class.

The junior class is led by Rebecca Plume and Julia Hall, both of whom broke into the Top-10 in their specialty events at the PCSC Championships last February. Plume captured eighth place in the 200 freestyle and was a member of LMU's record setting 800 freestyle relay which placed third. She also scored in the 500 and 1650 distance freestyle events, placing 12th and 16th. Hall broke LMU's oldest program record in the 1650 freestyle on her way to an eighth place finish while placing 10th in the 400 IM. Danielle Garcia, a triple scorer in the 100, 200, and 500 freestyle events, will also serve as a key returner.

The sophomore class, coming off of a strong freshman season, will be led by all-conference standout Trinity O'Neill. O'Neill captured a third and fourth place finish at last year's Championship in the 400 IM and 200 Butterfly while establishing new LMU program records in both events. She will be backed by steady performing sophomore teammates which include Alicia Witter, who earned fourth place in the 200 freestyle, and Alexa Cook who placed fifth in the 50 freestyle at last year's championship meet. Returners Melanie Tansuwan, Mallorie Lim and Kristen Lutjen will continue to be assets to the team.

Relays will once again be a high point for the Lions who have dominated the conference in the 200 Medley Relay for three years straight, breaking and re-breaking the PCSC record. This year, with the addition of sophomore transfer, Megan Sawelson and a trio of freshmen sprint freestylers, Carolyn Pasque, Aja Kusao and Kristen Hiller, LMU's freestyle relays look to be among the best in the PCSC. Freshman Katie Carmody will add depth to the butterfly events while swimming newcomer, Maeghan Cobbin will prove to be a contender in the breaststroke events.

This year's team will be on the road more than any Lion team in the past with dual meets in Seattle, WA and Fairbanks, AK before traveling to Maui, HI during winter training. The season will open on October 12 with a two-day PCSC Kick-off event hosted by Cal Baptist University in Riverside, CA. On Friday, swimmers throughout the PCSC conference will compete in a swimming Pentathlon, choosing from one of three 5-event series of races. The following day will be a relay competition among PCSC schools that will field teams in 12 different relay events.

The Lions travel to the northwest for dual competitions with Seattle University on October 18, followed by University of Alaska, Fairbanks on October 20. A series of invitational meets at Pepperdine, U.C. Irvine and the Nike Cup at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach will wrap up competition in the month of November. The Nike Cup (formerly the Speedo Cup) in the past has included some of the top teams in the western United States including Pac-10 powerhouses Stanford and USC. Last year the Lions broke into the Top-10, ending in eighth place out of 23 teams.

January 2008 will start the `dual' meet portion of the season. LMU has four home dual meets scheduled in January starting with UC San Diego and Cal State Bakersfield, followed by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and University of San Diego to end the month of home competition. All of those will be tune-ups for the PCSC Championship set for February 13 at Belmont Plaza Pool in Long Beach. Fourteen women's teams will compete for the team title with last year's champion University of California, San Diego being the pre-season favorite to repeat. LMU, Pepperdine and University of Colorado will present tough competition for the Tritons.

With each year, the LMU swim program has gained momentum. This season, the Lions look to make LMU history in their quest to take the program's first ever PCSC conference title. With the strength and depth of the program, the Lions are focused and determined to go all the way.