Apologies that I have not commented sooner, I have been very busy and haven't had some time to sit down and write out some paragraphs until now. I have been keeping up with the posts here, and I commend you guys! I agree with pretty much all of your takeaways after midseason meets, duel meets, predictions, etc.
Huge congrats to the WC Women and GCC Men for breaking streaks and bringing home championships!
For the WC women, the conference championship was give or take the exact same situation that the WC men found themselves in last season, just the women had a larger diving cushion that made the point swing 28 points instead of 5 last year. Very exciting to watch! They swam very well, many of them dropping time and moving up from prelims, especially on the final day! Their breaststroke depth was huge and their largest advantage over GCC besides diving, getting half of the top 8 in the 1BR and a 1-2-4 (almost 3) in the 2BR. Maggie Manolis sweeping both breaststrokes was a solid highlight for the Titans, with Abby Jones right behind her in both events. Patricia Loughney and Caitlyn Peace had big time drops that helped round out the group. Nyna Hess had some great swims and won the 400 IM. Freshman Marissa Bowers put up some great swims (1BK, 2BK, 5FR) and although she did not win anything, was a big contributor to the Titans. Honestly the only thing holding the Titans back from a more dominant victory was their relay ability, which will only lessen with the graduation of Carolyn Novak (who put up some great splits and won the ind. 1FR). They gotta get some sprinters to complete with Chatham, SVC, and GCC. Their weak point was also in butterfly, which will weaken with the graduation of Nicole Stengel. Diving was huge for them, getting six of the top 8 on 3M and 5 of the top 8 on 1M. Hopefully they can get a talented freshman class and keep the momentum going! They have some depth and talent to replace for sure.
The GCC women put up a good fight, but did not do as well as expected. I honestly did not think that Anne Dassow was going to have the meet she did! Her freestyle splits weren't anything too impressive, but then she laid down some fast butterfly swims that will take her to Greensboro this year. 1-2 in the 1FL was big for them. They had a pretty good meet even though they didn't taper as well as they traditionally do, but it just wasn't enough to match the overall depth of WC and their diving contingent. They do not lose as much to graduation as WC, so by default they have the upper hand next season.
Chatham women swam very fast, which is promising for the new head coach! Hopefully this coach sticks around and they can get a good incoming class to help raise the PAC up. If they get more depth and a couple divers they could also be in the hunt for the PAC title. Mallory Marzolf continues to be their stud, winning three individual events and putting up some great numbers. Honestly, all of the Marzolf sisters are pretty nuts! Interestingly enough, their relays consisted of 3/4 Marzolfs + Mikita, spare the 800FR!
SVC also swam as well as expected! Honestly not too much to go off of here, they keep swimming fast and winning relays. Although Maddie Bartrug did not swim as well as she has in the past, she still put up good times and points. Marion D'Aurora winning the mile was a good highlight for them as well.
Overall, WC and GCC were pretty closely matched, trading majorities of A/B finals, and SVC/Chatham just seemed to be throwing wrenches into the championship plans of either team. Diving was the difference maker in the end result, and it was a very fun meet to watch!
The WC men overall had a very good showing and outswam their predictions, doing much better than I think we all thought they would on paper. Finally, WC hit a taper when it counted! Seemingly the first time in the past three years (from an overall standpoint). Some great swims by Matt Kwalick (44.88r, 46.4 1FR 1:41's, 1:53.00 2IM), Clay Murray (21.3/20.95r 50FR and 22.22 50FL), Michael Spencer, coming off of shoulder injury all season (21.5, 20.8r), Jacob Musselman (1:47 2FR, 47.4 1FR, 21.7/21.1 50FR), Trevor McCabe (59.2/58.4r 1BR, 2:11 2BR, 47.7 1FR). David Peffer earned swim of the meet for me as well, he put up some great times with a 4:36.8 5FR, 23.70 50BK, 50.2 1BK, and blistering 1:48.2 2BK that broke Steven Brooks' meet and pool record. That will almost certainly get him to Greensboro and he has a chance to take that 200 Back PAC Open record with some competition on both sides of him. Honestly, all of the WC swimmers had great performances and time drops, but those were obviously the ones that stood out to me. I can't help but think GCC sort of lucked out - that WC may have swept the titles this year had it not been for the roster changes after mid-season: losing Matt Bogen, Tyler Liston, Cameron Wood, Austin Shaw, and Tony Schweinhagen. Those athletes right there would have helped round out the bottom half of WC's PAC team into a faster bottom half that probably would have doubled the score of the swimmers they replaced, if not more. Matt Bogen would have been the dominant breaststroker at WC and would have helped fill out some top-end speed. Not to mention two more divers would have been big at a meet where only six divers took to the boards on the men's side. Speaking of diving, the WC men were dominant as expected, with Connor May and Patrick Holton hopefully both making it to NCAAs after regionals.
To be honest, I was not too impressed by GCC's swimming. Seemed to have missed tapers or gotten illnesses. Luke Mason did well and dropped a half second in the 2IM, breaking the PAC record, however that was the only event that wow'ed me. I was expecting a guy who has a 1:41.0 flat start 2FR to go a little faster than 1:43.5, especially with a relay start. I get he may have been tired because because the 4IM, but that is the first event in the program while the 800 free relay is the last one of the night, and he was 2 1/2 seconds off his PB. Hopefully he develops and can drop some serious time to get to NCAA's, it seems like he has the talent. Ben Slate did well as expected, winning his breaststroke events and getting a nice PB and school record in the 1BR. Rhys Dickhudt finally got a great swim in the post season, going out with a win in the 2FL and dipping under 1:54! Their diving squad, while not as good as WC's, was still able to minimize the point swing by matching their three divers at the least. Their relay performances were very sub-par, bar the 4MR (which I thought they were going to break the meet and pool record in). Calvin Brouwer splitting 22 as an anchor in the 2FR?? He split under 22 in duel meets this season. Overall, Calvin swam fast, but not necessarily relative to his performances last year. He did as expected and won his events, but did have one impressive time drop in the 2FR, breaking 1:42 for the first time. On a somewhat related note, I noticed something while watching the meet in the stands - the way Calvin conducted himself was cringe-worthy. Following his (admittedly) dominant performance in the mile, he put his feet up into the gutters and laid there as if on vacation. Competitor Aaron Dunlany went to shake his hand afterwards and had a pair of feet in his face. That's some cocky, disrespectful, and frankly inexcusable behavior coming from someone who - as an All-American HM last season (and current PAC record holder) is the face of the program - should be the example of how you conduct yourself as a student-athlete. His demeanor up on/behind the blocks during relays did not show good sportsmanship. When you compete on a team, you don't only represent yourself anymore, and I think that Fritz should seriously address this issue in the off-season. I know it rubbed a lot of parents and athletes the wrong way and was not a good look for the team. Calvin will likely not get invited to NCAA's unless he can drop 10-20 seconds in the mile at Kenyon.
Congrats to Jacob Davis for putting up some great swims! Finally breaking Courage's record in the 2FR with a 1:39.6 and breaking his own 1FR meet/pool record in 44.1. He also split 43 two separate times this meet! It is likely that he was not fully tapered for this meet, as he probably would have been invited with a 44.5 1FR from midseason. I think the PAC open records could be in jeopardy come March! Zach Baum swam well, and will have to drop a couple more tenths before getting that invite in the 1FL, but he went a step in the right direction this meet! He's gotta work on that endurance for the 2FL, he kinda died the last 100 after taking the title last year. They had some other standout swims with their breaststroke crew and John Martin/Danny Whirlow stepping up in relays. Can't help but think what would happen if they only would have had a couple divers for the past handful of years...
W&J did not perform to the expectation that I was hoping, but hopefully this is a good starting point for the new Presidents program. Dean Kralic and Andrew Ivory did not come close to their PBs (that would have made them very competitive in the PAC), but Colin Higinbothom at least did decent given his seed times.
I cannot agree more. Division III swimming is getting ridiculously fast. Had Peffer not dropped a ludicrous amount of time between prelims and finals, he would be on the outside looking in with a 1:48.80 and would have to try and drop time at Kenyon, which is crazy. Agreeing with WCAlum, the AMCC would help round out the field again. The meet is way too slow as it is, with many events not even being able to fill all 16 spots.wvswimfan88 wrote: On the whole, while there were a number of exciting swims and a handful of folks who certainly were contrary to this, I was a little disappointed at how slow the meet was overall. The winning time was slower compared to 2018 in 27 of 36 swimming events, and the time it took to get into the A final was slower in 19 of 26 individual swimming events. I ran one other set of data comparing common swims from the 2018 PAC Championships to the 2019 meet (people who swam the same event both years), and the overall difference was an improvement of only .05%. For reference, that's equivalent to someone who swam a 20:00 1650 only improving to a 19:59.40. I don't have prior year data on this yet, but it's not the most promising. Given that DIII swimming is getting significantly faster (at the top, at least), all of those factors are a bit discouraging. Hopefully that's something that will change into 2019-20.
Hoping to be more active next season! Now, we wait for Diving Regionals and final NCAA selections. Hopefully we will see a large PAC contingent!