Men's swimming and diving began the weekend with a dual-meet against rival Wabash on Friday at Erdmann Natatorium, and would later join the women Saturday, where the two programs would swim against Washington-University.
The first two events of the men’s meet against the Little Giants didn’t go smoothly, as Wabash took first in the 200-yard medley relay and finished first, second and third in the 1000-yard freestyle.
“You… thought it was over, and it really should’ve been at that point,” said men’s head coach Adam Cohen. “But instead what happens is that our guys [began] to battle back.”
Cohen’s words could not ring truer as the Tigers proceeded to take three of the top four spots in the 200-yard freestyle and the top three spots in the 100-yard backstroke.
Individually, Eli Anderson placed first in both the 100-yard and 200-yard back stroke, while senior Blake Lehmann won the 50 free stroke. The Tigers closed the meet with a first place finish in the 400 free relay from sophomore Sam McManus, first-year Matthew Oonk, sophomore Kurt Sweiter and senior Alex Grissom.
Despite the comeback, DePauw was not able to catch the Little Giants, as Wabash took the meet by a narrow score of 148-146.
The first dual meet between the two rivals has become controversial over past seasons, as Wabash has been known to taper and wear expensive racing suits usually used specifically only for important meets that include conference and nationals.
“Friday was very emotional [in] going against [our] rival,” said Grissom, captain of the men's team. “We know that we’re the better team. The fact that we almost beat them not rested, not wearing suits, just proves that it’s all about the end of the season."
The men’s team will swim next against Wabash in Crawfordsville, where the Little Giants will be hosting the Patrick Woehnker Invitational.
Saturday proved to be another tough meet for the men, as they fell to one of the best programs in the country in Washington University by a score of 179-110.
Eric Addy led the Tigers as the sophomore diver placed first in both the one-meter board and three-meter board.
Anderson and Lehmann repeated their performances on Friday, as Anderson won the 100-yard backstroke while Lehmann took first in the 50 freestyle.
“We knew going in the odds of pulling out a win were pretty slim, but what we [saw] again is some guys stepping up,” said Cohen. “We were able to race with them and give [them] a pretty good run.”
The women also struggled against Wash-U in their first dual meet of the season, falling to the Bears 188-103.
Junior Angela Newlon led the Tigers, as she won both the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyles.
Junior Annie Graves placed first in the 200 individual medley, while DePauw won the 400 free relay with a team composed of senior Caroline Bridges, freshman Mary Woods, junior Kirsten Olson and senior Erin Horne.
“I think we were hoping to see some better swims… but we gave our best efforts and we’re still faster than where we were last season,” said Newlon. “Wash-U is a top ranked team, and we held our ground against them.”
While Wash-U proved to be a challenging opponent for the team’s first dual meet, head coach Ben Hewitt believes that it serves as an example for the team.
“I enjoy this meet being early in the year because… it really develops toughness,” explained Hewitt. “It helps people see where they’re at and what it’s going to take to be that caliber swimmer… Putting it earlier in the year, it’s not a wake-up call so to speak, but it’s definitively… that barometer, it’s where we’re at.”
The men and women’s teams will swim next when they host Indianapolis this Saturday at noon in Erdmann Natatorium.
“I think we need to keep a positive attitude going into this coming meet and really focus on putting in the effort to result in a strong race,” said Olson. “Every meet gives us an chance to get better and it all helps with looking at the big picture of doing well at conference and nationals.