Swimming improves at House of Champions

INDIANAPOLIS — The Western Illinois University men’s and women’s swim and diving teams once again prevailed at the House of Champions competition on Nov. 16-18.

Once the results were posted on Nov. 19, it was clear that head coach Greg Naumann has done an impressive job with working out the kinks and increasing the strengths on both teams.

On the men’s side a strong eighth place finish came through with 430 points, and the women’s team came in ninth with 332 points.

When asked how the midterm final meet went, Naumann’s response was nothing but positive feedback.

“Overall, I felt like we had an awesome meet,” Naumann said. “This may have been one of the best midseason meets that we have had in my 10 years at Western. We had a lot of energy around our swims, feeding off of our teammates’ swims, and then adding our own energy to the group.”

The Purple and Gold men’s team had two big highlights. The first came from junior Brennan Bladel in the 100-back. Bladel swam his way to 1:50.75, which was .01 second less than his previous best mark. This time is currently the second-best time in Western Illinois history, and it was enough to earn him a win in the C-final.

Next to Bladel was freshman Adam Peterson who sprinted for a 46.35 time, and the ninth-best mark in school history in the 100-free. Another ninth-place best swim in Western Illinois history came from the women’s side, as freshman Laramie Reed clocked in with a strong finish in the 200-breast with 2:27.62.

Continuing on with the women’s teams, two top-10 marks came from the 200-fly as freshmen Caitlin Dassow and Shannon O’Malley both came in a few seconds apart from each other. Dassow registered in at 2:09.94 and the seventh-best swim record for Western. O’Malley came in at 2:10.33 placing eighth in the Leatherneck history book.

With all this excitement, it was apparent to Naumann that his freshmen teams will remain dominate, and will take the reins once the upperclassmen graduate.

“The number of changes to our top 10 list goes to show how strong our freshman class is, and the potential for what they will do while competing for the Purple and Gold,” Naumann said.

At House of Champions the host Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Jaguars walked away with some impressive times and a new individual record. The new record that was broken came from freshman Nick Hanas, who crushed his school record in the men’s 200 backstroke 1:47.30. This time was two seconds better than the school record that was set in 2014, which was also the longest -standing men’s record.

The men and women Jaguars fought their way to the top and managed to make it within the top five marks for both teams. The men came in at fifth and the women finished off with a strong fourth place win.

With one more competition left before the new year begins, it’s up the Leathernecks to maintain their strengths as the go up against Truman State in Kirksville, Mo. this Saturday at 1 p.m.

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