The University of Redlands swimming & diving teams finished as runners-up to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in both the men’s and women’s competition following the third and final day of competition at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championships.
Freshman Tyler Harp (San Bernardino, CA) received the conference’s Athlete of the Year honor following a meet where he set three program records and one conference record individually and four program marks and one conference standard as a relay member. With “A” qualifying standards in the 50 and 100 freestyle events, he receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship meet, which takes place in Minneapolis, MN, from March 18-21.
The Redlands record book got torched throughout the three-day meet as the men set a total of eight program records while three program marks fell on the women’s side.
Saturday’s finals session featured a timed-final heat of the women’s 1650 freestyle, and three Bulldogs managed top-eight finishes in the event. Sophomore Michelle Camburn (Sunnyvale, CA) stopped the clock at 18:16.25, taking sixth. Camburn’s swim bested the program’s former record of 18:16.60 in the event, which Cathleen Penney ’07 set in 2006. Sophomore Kayla Desai (Lakewood, CO) and junior Danielle Caver (Highland, CA) finished seventh and eighth with times of 18:54.20 and 18:58.71, respectively.
Sophomore Alec Alders (Los Angeles, CA) completed the trifecta, winning his third event of the meet with a decisive 16:05.58 victory in the men’s 1650 freestyle. Alders flirted with the program record in the event (16:04.99) but earned an NCAA provisional qualifying time with the performance nonetheless. Senior Marc Hicks (Granada Hills, CA) caught Occidental Colleges’ Michael Wade at the 800 mark of the race and earned a fifth-place finish (16:47.88) while junior Ned Voytovich (Salt Lake City, UT) powered through the back half of his race to gain a seventh-place time of 17:01.21.
Utilizing her endurance, senior Hillary Nicholson (Santa Cruz, CA) maintained a solid spot in the middle of the pack in the women’s 200 backstroke throughout the entirety of the race and took fourth with a time of 2:11.16.
Backstroke depth again helped the men earn points as the Bulldogs placed sixth through eighth in the men’s 200 backstroke. Junior Ian Starkie (Arroyo Grande, CA) took sixth with a 2:01.41 time, sophomore Mike Reilly (Coral Gables, FL) finished seventh with a 2:02.78 mark and junior Chad Kyffin (San Jose, CA) stopped the clock eighth with a 2:02.95 standard.
Two young sprint talents allowed the Bulldogs to make a strong presence in the women’s 100 freestyle. Freshman Casey Sripramong (Glendale, CA) took advantage of a surge in the second half of her race to gain a fifth-place finish (54.91) while freshman Jaime Nippert (Gresham, OR) had a competitive showing as well, taking eighth with a 56.00 time.
Harp became the first-ever SCIAC swimmer to crack the elusive 45-second barrier in the men’s 100 freestyle as he lowered Greg Milton ’96’s program and conference record of 45.07, which he set back in 1993 when he won the event at the NCAA Championship meet. Harp’s swim also cleared the NCAA automatic qualifying time by .01. His teammate, sophomore Miran Terzic (Mostar, Bosna i Hercegovina), finished right behind him with an NCAA provisional cut time of 45.44. Two additional Redlands swimmers placed in the top eight as well. Senior Buddy Olds (Murrieta, CA) touched the wall at 47.07 for fourth place while junior John Floersch (San Jose, CA) captured seventh (47.50).
Three Redlands student-athletes swam in the championship final of the women’s 200 breaststroke, and freshman McKenzie Nakamura (Kenmore, WA) led the way with an NCAA provisional qualifying mark and a program record of 2:23.85 in her second-place showing in the event. Cathleen Penney ’07 clocked the former gold standard of 2:25.70 back in 2006. Sophomore Jo Navarro (Chandler, AZ) tapped in at 2:33.30 for sixth while sophomore Kelley Cooper (San Antonio, TX) finished eighth with a time of 2:34.70.
Freshman Mike Grant (Weston, MA) took out his first 100 in a 1:03.30 and pushed through the final half of the race to give the Maroon and Gray a fifth-place finish in the men’s 200 breaststroke (2:17.60). Rounding out the top eight finishers was Hicks who clocked an eighth-place 2:20.31.
Despite having just two Bulldog representatives in finals, Redlands took advantage of its depth as it accounted for six of the eight consolation finalists in the men’s 200 butterfly. Freshman Jesse Lieberman (Princeton, NJ) clocked a lifetime-best 1:57.82 for sixth in the championship final while sophomore Sonny Morin (Seattle, WA) managed a time of 2:02.43, which earned him eighth.
The Redlands women closed out the weekend with a fifth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay. Sripramong led off the relay with a 54.90 split, setting the pace for the quartet. Freshman K.C. Hughes (Gig Harbor, WA), Cooper and Nakamura followed suit and registered a final time of 3:41.52.
Perhaps none of the broken records of the weekend resonated as much as the Bulldogs’ victory in the men’s 400 freestyle relay. With the bleachers on the starting end of the pool packed with swimmers cheering on their teammates in the final event of the meet, a loud atmosphere ensued, setting the stage for a final curtain call by the Redlands sprinters.
Olds led off the relay with a time that was nearly a full second faster than that of his 100 freestyle in the championship final an hour prior, clocking a 46.26. Terzic extended the lead over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on the second leg with a 45.25 and handed a two-second lead off to Floersch. With a strong first lap to set the tempo, Floersch muscled his way through the 100 in 46.03 and gave the large lead off to the individual champion in the 100 freestyle, Harp. With the race already in hand, Harp battled the clock and turned in a remarkable anchor split of 44.92 to give the team a total time of 3:02.46.
Their collective efforts earned a quality NCAA “B” cut while erasing a 26-year-old SCIAC record (3:03.10) and a 16-year-old program record (3:05.31).
The Athenas won the women’s meet with relative ease, raking in a whopping 1004.5 points throughout the meet. Redlands finished second with 621 points while Pomona-Pitzer Colleges settled for third (547).
For the second consecutive year, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps won the men’s meet. Despite elite performances from both sides, the Stags edged the Bulldogs in the end by a 932.5-871 score. Pomona-Pitzer emerged in a three-team battle for third with 402.5 points.
Both Harp and Terzic possess NCAA “A” cuts and earn an automatic invitation to the NCAA Championship meet, which is held in Minneapolis, MN, from March 18-21. Those who possess “B” qualifying times are placed in an at-large pool but are not guaranteed a spot at the meet.
The NCAA will announce a psych sheet for the NCAA Championship meet after the conference championship season is completed. Further information on additional invitees to the national championship meet will be posted on www.goredlands.com.