The John Carroll University swimming and diving program wrapped up their season on Saturday, concluding it with a strong showing at the 2010 Ohio Athletic Conference Championships.
Ever since Matt Lenhart took over as coach of the Blue Streaks program in 1986, his teams have always performed well on the biggest stage. Lenhart has captured 27 conference titles since JCU joined the OAC in 1990 – 14 on the women’s side and 13 on the men’s side.
This year, neither the men nor the women were able to capture the top overall spot, but both rosters are filled with underclassmen who will undoubtedly be heard from in the future.
The men took second, while the women’s team claimed third in the 2010 OAC Championships, one that JCU hosted at Ocasek Natatorium on the campus of the University of Akron.
Not only did the men claim second place behind Ohio Northern University, who captured their fifth consecutive team title, but they set some records along the way.
On Saturday night, the third and final day of competition, JCU sophomore Alex Vereshchagin won two titles, touching the wall first in the 50-yard Freestyle, the 100-yard Freestyle and the 200-yard Freestyle. Additionally, he was a member of the victorious 400-yard Freestyle relay team.
While Vereshchagin had a fantastic championship weekend individually, he was quick to put the focus on the team as a whole.
“I felt great about the overall accomplishments that the team has made,” he said. “Everybody had stepped up and did their job when they needed to.”
Vereshchagin was alluding, in particular, to the 400-yard Freestyle relay team he was on.
The Blue Streaks had an extremely young lineup that, in addition to Vereshchagin, also included freshman Drew Edson and sophomores Eric Davis and Jimmy Ranallo.
That quartet won the 400-yard Freestyle event with a time of 3:09.97.
Davis and Ranallo then went on to earn individual All-OAC honors again by finishing in the top three of their respective events.
Ranallo came in second place in the 1650-yard Freestyle with a time of 16:41.01.
Davis swam a season-best of 1:59.70 to get second place in the 200-yard Butterfly event.
Sophomore Blake Pinchot, who had earned All-OAC accolades with a third in the 200-yard Backstroke, echoed Vereshchagin’s sentiments about the team’s overall performance.
“Overall it was great. Everybody felt that they did a good job and performed at their best potential,” Pinchot said. “[We were] very happy overall at what the team accomplished.”
The JCU women’s team took third, but they weren’t too far behind the rest of the pack.
The ONU Polar Bears were tops with 256.5 points, followed by Mount Union College with 224 points.
JCU was third with 217 points, well ahead of the next closest team, Baldwin-Wallace College who finished with 78.5 points.
Like the men’s team, the women left the event encouraged about the future of the program.
Freshman Rachel Mizner was named the OAC “Swimmer of the Year” after a fantastic weekend, especially considering that it was her first conference meet.
She walked away with titles in the 50-yard Freestyle and 100-yard Freestyle, as well as a second place finish in the 2000-yard Freestyle. Individually, Mizner earned the Blue Streaks 25 points, the most by any individual swimmer in the conference.
Mizner’s classmate Julia Adams was right behind her with 24 points earned.
Adams’s won the 100-yard and 200-yard Backstroke events. She also took third in the 200-yard IM event.
Adams’s time of 2:10.92 in the 200-yard Backstroke bested the previous OAC record of 2:10.95 that was set by Lacey Shumate of Ohio Northern at the 2007 Championships.
Aside from the freshmen, junior Heidi Benson came in third in the 1650-yard Freestyle event to earn All-OAC recognition.
Sophomore Samantha Mossman came in second in the 200-yard Backstroke with a time of 2:10.95, which was the previous OAC record, just three-tenths of a second behind Adams.
Senior Liana Sved came in third place in the 100-yard Freestyle with a time of 55.36 to cap off her terrific career with another All-OAC mention.