It’s been a long weekend – rewarding for many; revealing for some. But 30-some hours of pool time later, the meet has come to its conclusion.
After some last-night traditions, the final leg of the competition kicked off with a recognition of all the seniors participating in the invitational.
As expected, the Grove City women ran away with the meet. They gained 67 points on Westminster Saturday, sealing a 151-point victory. For the men, it came down to the last day, but the kind of tight finish in the last race many were expecting (this writer included) did not happen. The men’s team faded away somewhere in the middle of Saturday’s finals, making the gap simply too much to overcome. They finished with 728 points, 13 behind Westminster. Despite the men’s team being outpaced, though, there were many great moments for both Grove City teams.
The women sent three swimmers into the 1650 finals, all of them underclassmen – sophomores Keegan Reed and Liv Beckner and freshman Megan Bilko.
The PAC keeps track of times for the 1000 yard point of the race. Current senior Jenny Ryan, who scratched from the event last night, set the record last year with a time of 10:32.71. Bilko broke it in 10:32.10. She proceeded to break Ryan’s invitational record for the 1650 and the pool record by swimming a 17:20.59 – just a second under last year’s qualifying time. Beckner took fourth and Reed placed fifth.
Junior David Bossert, the meet’s only male three-event winner, took the men’s mile in 16:28.48, 12 seconds faster than his winning time last year. Bossert would receive the Invitational’s Swimmer of the Year award later in the night. Junior E.J. Leuschner took eighth by – get this – one hundredth of a second. Consider for a moment how long the mile race is. A difference of that magnitude may not seem like much, but this time the minute distance proved the difference-maker. Additionally, the ninth-place scorer was not swimming in Leuschner’s heat – the mile, along with other lengthy events, is a “timed final,” meaning the places are determined on time alone in one swim-through, rather than performance in prelims and finals within an eight-swimmer heat.
Sophomore Lauren Cassano earned her fourth B-cut time (read: “provisional standard”) in the 200 backstroke, winning with a time of 2:06.44. Senior Natalie Keibler took fourth.
Anglea Palumbo swam a B-cut time in the preliminary of the 100 free, but failed to break her own pool record in the final. Palumbo did take first, though, and Jenny Ryan had a second-place finish. Eric Fairchild pushed himself to swim a B-cut 45.85 in the event.
Kaley Hess won the 200 breaststroke for the women. Louis Gabriele shaved almost two seconds off his preliminary time. His 2:05.99 was good enough to put him in second. In the 200 fly, Kait Riesmeyer added another B-cut with a 2:06.43 time.
Freshman Carolyn Eckendorf placed fourth in the women’s 1-meter diving, while sophomores Richie Klimek and Karter Gagliardo placed third and fourth. Klimek scored a 370.10 in the finals; Eckendorf scored 353.40.
The 400 free relay finished the meet on an exciting note, with the women taking first with a B-cut time and the men taking second, passing Westminster’s relay team in the process.
Jenny Ryan led the women’s 400 relay with a 52.07 split – good enough to get her a B-cut for the 100 freestyle.
It was a crazy meet, filled with high-powered races and new records. Five pool records were broken, three new PAC records were set, and 31 B-cut times were recorded. If 2013’s championship meet will be remembered for anything, it won’t be for mediocrity.
1. Grove City College – 926
2. Westminster College – 775
3. Saint Vincent College – 539
4. Washington & Jefferson College – 400
5. Penn State Behrend – 198
6. Chatham University – 179
7. Bethany College – 173
8. Cabrini College – 138
9. Franciscan – 109
10. Penn State Altoona – 107
11. Univ of Pittsburgh at Bradford – 68
1. Westminster College – 741
2. Grove City College – 728
3. Penn State Behrend – 619
4. Washington & Jefferson College – 422
5. Saint Vincent College – 362
6. Univ of Pittsburgh at Bradford – 181
7. Cabrini College – 168
7. Penn State Altoona – 139
9. Bethany College – 34
Dan Johnson is a Collegian Staff Writer.