[Written by Gabriella Kreuz]
The John Carroll swimming and diving team had some stand-out performances as they finished third in the OAC this past weekend at the University of Akron’s Ocasek Natatorium.
Over the course of three days, Feb. 16, 17 and 18, and a heap of events, John Carroll scored a total of 646 points trailing behind second-place Mount Union (776) and first-place Ohio Northern (859).
Day one of the competition included many Blue Streak highlights. The 200 free relay team of senior Brendan Schloendorn, senior Alex Vereshchagin, senior Eric Davis and sophomore Nick Holvey set a new OAC record (which was set by JCU last year in the event) with a winning time of 1:24.08. The Blue Streaks have now won that event for the fourth time of the last six years. Vereshchagin and Schloendorn went on to place first and second, respectively, in the 50 free finishing in 20.82 and 21.06.
John Carroll sophomore Julia Adams defended her title winning the 200 individual medley race for the second consecutive season, breaking her own record in the event by over a half second, finishing with a time of 2:09.86 and earning All-OAC honors.
Sophomore Rachel Libertin who placed second in the 500-meter freestyle with a time of 5:13.66 and freshman Karyn Adams who placed third in the 50-yard free in 24.56 both earned All-OAC reputations. Additionally, the women’s 400-medley relay of Julia Adams, Melissa Fillmore, Rachel Libertin and Tori Watson earned all-league accolade honors placing second with a time of 4:02.87.
As day two rolled around, the Blue Streaks continued to shine, although sitting behind powerhouse Ohio Northern. The men finished out the second day of competition in second place behind the Polar Bears and the women finished in third place behind second-place Mount Union and first-place Ohio Northern.
On the men’s side, the Polar Bears took over, sweeping 11 of the 13 events that had taken place through day one. A notable performance came from the Polar Bears’ senior Michael Schultz who won his third OAC title in the 200 free, breaking his own OAC and ONU records and surpassing the NCAA “B” cut by winning the event in 1:40.30.
JCU’s Vereshchagin, took a well-earned second place in the 100-yard breaststroke in 58.69. He also lead off the 800 freestyle relay team of Holvey, Schloendorn and junior Drew Edson which finished second with a time of 6:57.94.
For the women, the Blue Streaks’ Julia Adams defended yet another title finishing OAC champion in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 58.33. She went on to help her teammates Victoria Watson, Maggie Donoghue, and Rachel Libertin place second in the 800 freestyle relay with a time of 7:54.46.
In the 3-meter diving competition, freshman Blue Streak Danielle Ketterer placed third, earning a score of 316.05; she is the first JCU women’s diver to finish in the top three of the OAC since 2008.
ONU and Mount Union were putting swift first place finishes on the board as well. The Polar Bears’ freshman Taylor McCabe won the 400 IM and sophomore Lindsey Rayhill defended her title in the 100 fly. Mount Union’s Alyson Kolesar also defended her OAC crown in the 200 free.
The final day of the 2012 OAC Swimming and Divings Championships proved to be a successful ending for John Carroll.
The men boosted their points in the 100 freestyle where Vereshchagin, Schloendorn, and Holvey finished first, second and third, correspondingly. The same trio plus Holvey went on to place first in the 400-yard freestyle finishing in 3:04.90. Mount Union took second in the event over four seconds behind the Blue Streaks.
JCU’s Julia Adams picked up her third victory of the OAC Championships in the 200 breaststroke finishing in 2:08.83. This third spectacular win for Adams earned her OAC Swimmer of the Year honors.
“It’s always a goal to do your best in something that you put a lot of hard work and dedication into. Winning my events and receiving OAC Swimmer of the Year again was a great way to end the season,” said Adams.
Her younger sister, freshman Karyn Adams, finished second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 54.08. The Adams sisters helped their 400 freestyle relay team including Watson and Libertin finish second with a time of 3:37.13.
When all was swum and done, the John Carroll men placed second (639) behind Ohio Northern (1,036) and the JCU women finished third (646) behind Mount Union (776) and Ohio Northern (859).
“The guys finished right where they should have. We knew if the stars were in line the women had a chance at first or second,” said coach Jason Lenhart of the impressive performances by both the men’s and women’s team. “But it was not a disappointing finish for them. Mount Union and Ohio Northern swam really, really well.”