This weekend, Keynon’s Total Performance Invitational once again lived up to its reputation of being the best mid-season meet that DePauw men’s and women’s swimming and diving compete in.
“You not only have a host of great swimming schools, but you’re in a room full of academic schools,” explained Cohen. “So you know that you’re competing against guys and women that are going to classes just like you, that are struggling with all the balances of being a student athlete.”
Besides Kenyon and DePauw, the meet also included the University of Pennsylvania, John Hopkins University, Davidson College and Carnegie Melon University.
While both Tiger teams finished last overall out of the six teams over the three-day meet, there were plenty of promising takeaways from the weekend.
The men were led by senior captains Blake Lehman and Alex Grissom, as the team posted several B-cut times, which are seen as unofficial qualifying times for Regionals.
Sophomore Mitch Davis set a school record in the 100 breast stroke (55.39) while sophomore Sam McManus broke the Tiger record for the 200 breast stroke (2:04.08).
Sophomore diver Eric Addy also had an impressive weekend, qualifying for regionals in back-to-back performances on the same day. The dives were broken into required and optional, with Addy being asked to replicate the optional dives the second time around.
“The required are kind of the less glamorous dives and then you have the optional dives,” explained Cohen. “Those are the dives the audience likes to watch (like) the twister, the double-summersaults.”
The Kenyon meet was the team’s first since the week before Thanksgiving break.
“The biggest problem with the meet is it is so awkwardly situated after Thanksgiving that a lot of people didn't get to prepare for it as much as they'd have liked,” said McManus. “(But) with that being said, while this is a great meet with tons of fast swims, it’s just a stepping stone moving forward for the team, since the big goals are Conference and Nationals.”
The women’s team also posted multiple “B” cut times, which was headed by junior Angela Newlon, who finished fourth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:50:58) along with breaking her own record in the 400-yard individual medley (4:22:42).
The team also got strong performances from juniors Kirsten Olson and Anna Graves on the meet’s final day, with 8th (2:06.82) and 16th (2:10.09) place finishes in the 200 backstroke.
“Considering that we were not shaved and tapered for this meet, I think we put some really good times up,” said senior Caroline Bridges. “If we were that successful during the middle of the year it bodes well for our conference meet, and hopefully the NCAA Championships in March.
But unfortunately for the men’s, the busy weekend didn’t end at Kenyon. Throughout the ride back to DePauw, the passenger door on the team’s bus wouldn’t shut properly, forcing the team to stop multiple times on the drive back.
While the bus’s driver managed to wrap it shut, the team ended up arriving back at campus past 2:00 a.m.
“It added a little bit to the trip. It’s kind of the joke of the team,” said Cohen, who feels that something always goes wrong on the way home from the Kenyon meet. “Driving back from Ohio is brutal.”
The Tigers will practice for one more week before taking a two-week break for exams and the holidays. The programs will then travel south for their annual training trip in Florida, which will give both Cohen and Hewitt a good idea of where their swimmers are in the season.
The two teams officially return to action in early January, with the men swimming away against Ohio Wesleyan on the Jan. 8, and the women competing in the St. Petersburg Classic.