Championship Recollections Saturday: 2020 Males's Swimming and Diving Edges Pomona-Pitzer for …

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2019-20 CMS Males’s Swimming and Diving SCIAC Championship Hyperlinks
Recaps: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four
Picture Galleries: Action Shots, Candid Shots 
Highlights: Championship Day
Full Results

Usually when swimmers start a race on the SCIAC Championships, their objectives are fairly easy. The highest contenders clearly wish to win the race, or end within the high three to earn their means on to the rostrum and obtain All-SCIAC honors. Others have objectives to qualify for the finals or the consolations, or swim their private finest instances and end increased than they ever have earlier than, netting the crew as many factors as they’ll.

When the CMS males’s swimming and diving crew’s 400-yard freestyle relay received prepared to start out the final race of the 2020 SCIAC Championship, their aim was even easier than that: “Just don’t DQ.”

To get to that time, the place merely ending the race with out a disqualification would imply a SCIAC Championship, the Stags had a four-day back-and-forth battle with Pomona-Pitzer that was exceptionally shut. The standings would typically change from race to race and each little level made a distinction, whether or not or not it’s profitable the race or simply catching a swimmer or two within the comfort warmth to complete 12th as an alternative of 15th. The tight scoreboard led to a number of pleasure and rigidity over these 4 days.

“Oh boy was it close,” mentioned Kyrellos Ibrahim (CMC ’21). “The score did not travel too far away from level during the first two days, with PP actually leading us going into the finals on Day 3. Personally, I have a bad habit of being obsessed with the numbers. I always kept track of how many A finalists and B finalists we have and they have on each given night. I run all the scenarios in my head and worry about what might happen, and that tight margin made it all the more stressful.”

Some swimmers favor to attempt to block out the noise of the crew competitors to remain locked in on their very own races, however for others, it was a continuing supply of motivation.

“We absolutely keep tabs on the standings the whole way through,” mentioned Andreas Roeseler (HMC ’21). “Every day our group chat had the ‘ups and downs’ as we call it, or how many people from each team are in the finals (‘up’) or consolation finals (‘down’). This lets us know how many opportunities each team has to score each event and helps us get together to cheer for each other. Some people try to avoid thinking about ‘ups and downs’, but I personally think it’s an incredibly helpful way to keep excitement going throughout the meet.”

Ibrahim provides that he has developed a way to assist him get mentally ready when it is time for him to race.

“I have learned from my prior SCIAC meets,” he mentioned. “I have gotten much better at centering myself before my races and blocking out distractions. This is a bit silly, but one technique I have is that I always train with my ears out of my cap. When it comes time to race, I put my ears away and my mind and body knows that the time has come to throw down. I like to compare it to putting blinders on a horse, or flipping the straps on a pair of Crocs into sports mode. I can’t help but stress about the numbers, but I definitely can put it away when the time comes to race.”

The stress of the 2020 SCIAC Championship was palpable from the start, particularly for the reason that Stags had come up quick in every of the earlier two years and knew they’d a robust likelihood to take again the title in 2020. The senior class had gained a SCIAC title as first-years in 2017, which was additionally an extremely shut meet that the Stags gained by solely eight factors. The seniors needed to style that feeling of profitable a title once more, whereas for everybody else, the aim was to attempt to win their first one after arising quick of their earlier tries.

“Earning a SCIAC title was our primary goal,” mentioned Sean Hoerger (HMC ’21). “It meant all the pieces to our crew.”

I feel reclaiming the SCIAC title was our high precedence,” said Ibrahim. “We hardly ever actually spoke about it out loud – I do not know if it was taboo or we have been nervous about it, however everybody knew that this was our yr and we have been going to do all the pieces we might to take again the crown. On high of that, we knew we had an ideal alternative to ship a robust crew to NCAAs, so there was no scarcity of motivation to get within the water and prepare like hell.”

Roeseler admitted that the title was sturdy motivation, however he felt somewhat bit like a number of the rigidity from earlier years wasn’t there this time round.

“I think it was on our minds as much as it had been in previous years,” he mentioned. “But I remember there wasn’t as much pressure about winning as there had been. I remember my freshman year, the team had a winning streak that went back 10 years and it was intimidating to try and keep that going. We didn’t want to be the ones to ruin the streak, and I think those thoughts got to us. I know they at least influenced me. Last season I think we approached it with more excitement and didn’t feel pressure from previous years since we lost. It felt like we had everything to gain and nothing to lose.”

CMS earned a jolt of confidence with a twin meet win over Pomona-Pitzer in December, getting the early higher hand on their rivals with a comparatively convincing 193-160 victory. The identical factor occurred, although, within the 2017-18 season, with a 191-161 common season twin win, and that victory did not carry over into the SCIAC Championships, which the Sagehens gained by nearly 100 factors (1086-998).

“It was a great confidence boost, but we knew it was just one step on the road to a title,” mentioned Hoerger of the twin win. “The scoring format is completely different at SCIACs and everyone performs at a different level at the championship. PP, especially, always swims fast at the end of the season. While the victory was nice, it was back to the grind; we did some of our hardest training in the following week.”

Ibrahim mentioned the celebration lasted till solely a minute or two into the primary crew assembly after the win, after which it was again to specializing in the longer journey forward, echoing the identical “grind” sentiment as Hoerger.

“Our assembly started with Coach Charlie (Griffiths) merely saying, ‘Congratulations,’ and all of us cheered fairly wildly,” said Ibrahim. “Throughout that very same assembly, Charlie and one of many seniors, Dave Makhervaks, reminded us that we had beat PP in duals earlier than, however nonetheless got here in second on the SCIAC Championships. In spite of everything, we have been solely in December. There was an entire winter coaching camp and starting of second semester for the scales to tip. I feel all of us took the win as affirmation that we have been heading in the right direction, coaching exhausting, sleeping nicely, and staying motivated. However all of us knew how essential it was to get proper again onto the grind – and to grind even more durable.”

Roeseler added that the crew’s capacity to remain centered was one among its strengths all season.

“We did a good job staying in the moment and taking things one meet at a time,” he mentioned. “Prior to the PP meet everyone’s focus was on winning that meet and performing, but once it was clear we were going to win all conversation switched to ‘SCIACs is scored differently’ and ‘This is no indication for SCIACs, we’ve still got to be ready.’ We were definitely excited with that win, but we quickly went back to focusing on the future.”

The longer term arrived two months later, with the beginning of the SCIACs in February. The diving championships have been held one week previous to the swimming occasions, with senior Kendall Hollimon offering 44 priceless factors with two first-place finishes, making him an ideal eight-for-eight in his profession profitable SCIAC titles. Pomona-Pitzer had the 2-3-Four finishers in each occasions, although, and held a slim lead heading into the swimming portion of the championship. Stag divers JD Herrera and Abai Houser, who each transferred in to this system for the 2019-20 season, additionally added 29 and 27 factors, respectively, which might show to be monumental in a 14-point crew win.

The four-day swim meet started with an enormous CMS win within the 200-yard medley relay, because the Stag crew of first-year Anderson Breazeale, senior Sam Willett, junior Marco Conati, and Roeseler set a brand new SCIAC document in 1:28.91 to earn 44 factors, eight greater than the Pomona-Pitzer crew which completed third. Roeseler had the pressured function of anchoring the relay, which he would do thrice over the course of the weekend, but it surely’s a task which he enjoys.

“I don’t think it takes anything special,” he mentioned. “I think it’s actually easier than leading off because you can hear the excitement from your team as the race goes on and can use that to fuel your performance.”   

The 2020 SCIACs would show how a lot swimming and diving championships are crew championships. It is not all the time what number of occasions a crew wins, but it surely’s extra about how nicely everybody performs high to backside. If 4 swimmers enter an occasion and all 4 qualify for the finals (the highest 9 swimmers in prelims), that’s price extra to the crew whole than having the person champion, however solely two swimmers within the finals.

In truth, Conati would repeat because the SCIAC champion within the 100-yard butterfly, however that was the one first-place end that CMS would earn during the last three days, becoming a member of Hollimon’s two diving titles and the medley relay because the 4 particular person championships CMS would win in 20 occasions. The whole lot else that led to the SCIAC crown was about swimmers stepping up and doing their half, qualifying for the finals, having their finest profession swims, and including to the crew whole little by little.

Ibrahim is an ideal instance of what it takes to win a crew championship. He was truly not included among the many CMS scoring swimmers as a sophomore in 2018-19. Yearly, CMS has to make troublesome selections of which swimmers to incorporate on their scoring roster, whereas the others swim at SCIACs, however solely in exhibitions that do not rely in the direction of the crew whole. With so many sturdy swimmers within the CMS program, the decision typically comes down as to whether somebody has the potential to qualify for 3 finals or solely two, and/or how a lot added worth somebody can present on relays. Ibrahim was one of many final ones left off for the Stags in 2018-19, however got here again stronger and earned his means on to the scoring roster final winter, and he made a distinction with a few of his finest profession swims.

Ibrahim reached the finals within the 500-yard freestyle and completed eighth, giving CMS 13 factors with the ninth-fastest time in program historical past (4:35.01). He additionally reached the finals within the 400-yard IM and contributed 14 factors with a seventh-place end, whereas additionally shifting into the highest 10 (eighth) at CMS in that class. His tenth-place end within the 1650 in a personal-best time added 10 extra factors, giving him 37 factors in particular person occasions in a meet that the Stags would win by 14. The truth that his personal-best swims contributed to an enormous win for this system made all of the distinction to him.    

Completely they really feel extra rewarding,” he mentioned. “The way I see it, I would not have swam that fast if it wasn’t for this grander team goal. It is a privilege to be a part of such a deep team, and to be entrusted with a spot on the scoring team means I have to do whatever it takes to swim faster and score as much as I can. In my second year, as a non-scorer, I just wanted to break into the top 10 lists. When we won last year, I didn’t even know I had added more top 10 swims until Coach Charlie sent us the new list.”

Ibrahim provides that whereas a person’s title is perhaps added to a high 10 checklist or to the All-SCIAC awards, it is the product of the work the crew places in daily.

“Honestly, I don’t even see those as individual accomplishments,” he added. “The hours of coaching with my beloved D-squad and the 400 IM group enabled me to swim nicely due to my phenomenal teammates who pushed me so exhausting at each follow. I am unable to checklist all of the people who helped me alongside the way in which, however the perfect instance of this crew mentality is the prelim swim of the 400 IM that received me that high 10 time. Ben Smith, Sean Hoerger, and I had educated collectively all yr and completed with solely four-hundredths of a second (0.04 s) between all three of us. If that does not scream teamwork, I do not know what does.”

Hoerger, in the meantime, has been a part of the CMS scoring roster all three years, however the 2020 SCIACs noticed him have his best affect. As a first-year, he completed seventh, eighth and 12th in his three occasions (34 factors), and improved that to fifth, sixth and eighth as a sophomore (44 factors). This previous winter, although, he earned his means onto the rostrum within the 200-yard breaststroke with a second-place end, shifting into fifth in CMS historical past, and added fourth (400 IM) and fifth (100 breast) place finishes as nicely, for 52 factors, in a meet when each level was clearly priceless.   

“Absolutely it felt even sweeter knowing those swims contributed to the team win,” he mentioned. “From a personal standpoint, this was probably the best meet of my life. I went all best times, made the championship final in all my events, and even contributed on a few relays for the first time at CMS.”  

For Roeseler, the 2020 championships marked his first time on the person podium, taking a third-place end within the 50 free to earn All-SCIAC. He has been All-SCIAC in relays an ideal 9 instances in three years, however was hampered by an sickness previous to SCIACs as a sophomore and completed eighth within the 50 free, ninth within the 100 free and 15th within the 200 free for 29 factors. In the meantime, his third, sixth and tenth place finishes resulted in 43 factors this yr, a 14-point enchancment, which matched the CMS margin of victory.

These sorts of contributions may be discovered up and down the roster in everybody’s particular person occasions. Senior Sam Willett had 50 factors in his three occasions, 11 greater than he had as a junior. Senior Ben Culberson was All-SCIAC (third) within the 1650, fifth within the 500, and seventh within the 200 for 48 factors in his particular person occasions. Senior Dave Makhervaks was All-SCIAC (third) within the 100 again and contributed 43 factors, whereas senior Henry Limm was All-SCIAC (third) within the 200 breast and had 38 factors.

Conati added a third-place end within the 100 free to his new SCIAC document within the 100 fly and contributed 50 factors to the CMS whole. Sophomore Walter Limm was All-SCIAC twice with two third-place finishes and totaled 51 factors, sophomore Nick Tan reached three finals within the backstroke occasions and the IM and added 44 factors, and sophomore Matthew Waddell had a finals look within the 200 fly and a top-10 end within the 1650 to contribute 31 factors.

5 CMS first-years additionally supplied a serious carry of their first championships. Anderson Breazeale was All-SCIAC in all three of his occasions, ending second within the 100 again, second within the 200 again and third within the 200 free for 56 factors, the very best particular person scoring whole on the crew. Alec Vercruysse was sixth within the 200 IM, sixth within the 100 breast, and seventh within the 200 breast for 44 factors. Ben Smith was All-SCIAC within the 400 IM in third place, and was fourth within the 200 fly, totaling 41 factors. Nathan Luis was All-SCIAC (third) within the 100 fly and totaled 31 factors, Thayer Breazeale earned the final spot within the nine-swimmer finals within the 200 fly, a key swim in what serves because the final particular person race of the meet, and added 24 factors.

Everybody’s particular person contributions added up, but it surely was nonetheless a detailed battle heading into the ultimate few races. In truth, the largest second of all of the charting of “ups and downs” was most likely the 200-yard breaststroke, the third-to-last race of the meet. CMS had 5 ups, and no downs, whereas the Sagehens had solely two swimmers entered, giving the Stags an enormous benefit.

“I will always remember the 200 breaststroke final,” mentioned Hoerger, who completed second. “We all brought our A game, everyone going season or lifetime best times and we outscored PP by 50 points in that event.”

CMS had 5 of the highest seven, the truth is, as Hoerger and Henry Limm earned All-SCIAC by ending second and third. Willett was fifth, Walter Limm sixth and Vercruysse seventh, giving the Stags 82 factors, in comparison with 30 for the Sagehens, and the 52-point benefit meant the SCIAC championship was instantly shut sufficient to style. Pomona-Pitzer had twice as many swimmers as CMS within the subsequent occasion, the 200 fly (six to 3), however importantly all three Stags made the finals (Smith fourth, Waddell seventh, Thayer Breazeale eighth), so Pomona-Pitzer was solely in a position to trim 24 factors off the CMS lead with a three-swimmer benefit.

That introduced it right down to the ultimate race, the 400-yard freestyle relay, and what could be one of the vital memorable third-place finishes in program historical past. Everybody had carried out the mathematics (the CMS lead was 22 after the B relay last), and even a last-place end within the A last could be sufficient to win the meet by a mere two factors. All of the Stags needed to do was end. In different phrases, do not get disqualified for leaping into the pool early … and so they all made fairly certain that did not occur, typically ready a comically lengthy second or two to leap in after their teammate touched the wall.  

“We were giddy with excitement going into that last race.” mentioned Roeseler, who had the honour of being the final one to soundly soar into the pool. “We knew we were ahead and as long as we didn’t DQ we would win, so everyone was jumping up and down and filled with energy. If you looked at us you couldn’t tell that we just spent the last 4 days racing our hearts out and were exhausted.”

The final relay race all the time brings some pleasure merely because the fruits of the complete weekend, even when the scores are now not unsure, however this one felt completely different to the Stags, because the championship feeling kicked in.  

“Every year, the whole team gathers behind the blocks to cheer on the swimmers for the 400 freestyle relay,” mentioned Hoerger. “My first two years, cheering on our teammates has been a bittersweet end to the meet, as PP, victory in hand, has celebrated next to us. Last year, we flipped the script. The relay team only had to complete the race without getting disqualified and the championship was ours. While we stood there jumping and cheering, it began to sink in that we were SCIAC Champions. After the relay, the whole team was hugging each other and celebrating. It felt surreal to be honest. Everyone was smiling from ear to ear.”

That last relay supplied the one second that stands proud to Ibrahim from the entire four-day expertise.

“I remember seeing Charlie’s face during the last relay,” he mentioned. “On the anchor leg, Andreas had an extremely secure begin and Charlie knew we had gained. Charlie as soon as instructed me, ‘I do not like dropping, and I do not plan to make a behavior out of it.’ What I noticed on his face was pure elation, and nearly reduction. PP didn’t make that meet straightforward for us by any metric, however when Charlie punched his fist within the air after Andreas dove in, I knew that he was so glad to be again on high.”

The Stags had those self same feelings themselves, which hit at completely different instances. There was the spontaneous hugs throughout and after the ultimate relay, the trophy celebration, the posing for pictures, the ceremonial plunge into the pool, the post-meet pizza, and the experience dwelling, when the crew bus would possibly as nicely have had wings.

“I feel it took a second to sink in, nearly prefer it wasn’t actual,” said Ibrahim. “I had spent all week stressing about it, and we did not know if we have been going to win till Andreas dove in for the anchor leg of the final relay. After he completed I knew we had gained. After they introduced the scores, I knew we had gained. Once we took footage on the rostrum, jumped within the pool, and had our crew assembly, I knew we had gained. It wasn’t till I used to be on the bus that the sensation actually hit me. It felt. So. Good.”

“My favorite moment has to be the post-meet meeting after we won SCIACs,” mentioned Roeseler. “We get pizza delivered and sit as a clump on the stairwell and people shout out other teammate’s great swims or dives that happened during the meet. Lounging all over the place, eating pizza, and complimenting each other was the perfect ending to a fantastic meet.”

There have been a number of parts that made the meet unbelievable. It was shut the entire means by so as to add to the drama and the constructing of rigidity, letting the championship feeling function an emotional launch. The seniors received to win again the title of their last meets after profitable as freshmen. The opposite courses, in the meantime, received to expertise it for the primary time, together with a junior class that had come quick twice and actually needed to carry the trophy.

“For 3 years, I needed this championship so badly,” said Ibrahim. “I had been there once I was a senior in highschool when the Stags scraped the eight-point win and the Athenas dominated. I used to be simply so thrilled to lastly be part of these championship celebrations I had watched these quick years earlier than. All of the sacrifices my teammates and I made throughout the season main as much as this meet had all of the extra price – swimming with Janet Tran on the mornings we had Superior Lab throughout follow, operating with Mia Syme, destroying kick units with Ben Culberson – it simply all culminated into this uncommon and exquisite second that I’ll by no means, ever overlook.”

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