Eagles News
Swimming - Tue, Mar. 11, 2014
Combined squad at nationals in OKC
Combined squad at nationals in OKC

The final meet has come to a close for the Concordia men's and women's swimming and diving teams.  Every early morning practice, all the hours in the water, every meet, and reach for the finish led up to this: The 2014 NAIA National Championships.   

The men's and women's swimming & diving teams completed their seasons setting eight new school records at the NAIA Swimming & Diving National Championships held in Oklahoma City March 5-8.

In all, the swimmers bettered existing CUI records 12 times on the way to establishing new standards in the women's 200 yard Freestyle Relay, 50 yard Freestyle, and 100 and 200 yard Butterfly and on the men's side, the 200 yard Medley Relay, 200 yard Freestyle Relay plus individual records in the 500 and 1,650 yard Freestyle events.

The CUI men finished in 4th place and the women placed 5th (just three points behind the next team) for a combined fourth place overall out of 26 teams competing from across the nation. 

"We took the largest contingent of student-athletes in school history, 37 in all, to this year's national meet," commented Eagle head coach Jeff Boss.  "Even though we may have liked a higher finish, setting eight school records, having so many good swims and PRs, we feel we did a pretty good job.  Schools are limited in the number of competitors they can enter at the nationals and CU had more than the allowable number in both men's and women's for the first time so some qualifiers couldn't go to Oklahoma.  The whole NAIA meet was faster than ever."

In addition, the women's squad was recently honored as a College Swimming Coaches Association of America Team Scholar All-America recipient.  They were one of only six NAIA and junior colleges awarded, and have a 3.13 team GPA.  To be eligible the teams must have a 3.0 or higher, and they are the only Concordia team to earn a scholar team award this year.

The men sprang into action on the 200 yard Medley Relay placing fourth overall at a new school record time of 1:31.51 with the first leg led by junior Kevin Reichel (JR/Fallbrook, CA), senior Lucas Spencer (SR/Orange, CA) for the second leg, junior Nolan Stimple (JR/Santa Rosa, CA) swimming third, and senior Kevin Donnelly (SR/Maple Grove, MN) closing out the race for the Eagles.  The 400 yard Medley Relay, swam by junior Lawrence Oxborough (JR/Tavistock, United Kingdom), Stimple, Spencer, and Donnelly, ended with a fifth place finish at a time of 3:24.42.

In the 800 yard Freestyle Relay, the Eagles took another fourth place finish at a time of 6:44.64 swam by juniors John Dowd (JR/Mesa, AZ), Wyatt Woodward (JR/Cardiff, CA), Oxborough, and senior Spencer.  In the 200 and 400 yard Freestyle Relays both teams earned a fourth place finish. In the 200, Dowd, Donnelly, Stimple, and junior Dragan Dincic (JR/Belgrade, Serbia) had a combined time of 1:21.85 for another school record.  In the 400, Oxborough, Dincic, Donnelly, and Dowd cut through the water at a time of 3:01.58.  Both men's relay records took down times established in 2009.

The men continued to place in the top-eight in their individual races.  Leading the way was Lucas Spencer ending his career with style earning another fourth place finish in the 100 yard Breaststroke at 56.03, followed by his teammate, junior Devin Grimalda (JR/Irvine, CA) in at 57.90.  Junior Jake Lear took a sixth place slot in the 200 yard IM with a time of 1:52.86, with his teammate, Reichel, .01 seconds slower at 1:52.87 in seventh, and Woodward winning the consolation finals finishing 9th in 1:51.43.

Senior Laszlo Perlaky (JR/Budapest, Hungary) made his mark for the Eagles in the 500 yard Freestyle taking seventh place in a school record 4:38.04, with junior David Jorth (JR/Costa Mesa, CA) on his heels in at 4:38.80.  Lear performed a solo top-eight finish for the Eagles in the 400 yard IM taking seventh place with a time of 4:05.73.  Laszlo took down his second school record in the 1650 yard Freestyle, "the mile", with a time of 15:59.94, the first Eagle under 16 minutes.  Jorth found the podium again in the 1650 with a seventh place finish at a time of 16:28.13, with freshman Ryan Caverly (FR/Thousand Oaks, CA) on his heels just seconds behind for eighth at 16:31.73. Dowd took seventh in the 100 yard Freestyle at 45.49 and Donnelly just finished tenths behind for ninth at 45.84. 

The men continued to pick away at scoring opportunities as the meet progressed with senior Elliot Bilsland (SR/Hayling Island, United Kingdom), in his final race as an Eagle, in the 200 yard Butterfly with a seventh place finish at 1:53.90.   Oxborough earned another top slot in the 100 yard Backstroke with a time of 51.59 for eighth after winning a swim-off with a time of 50.49.  In the 200 yard Backstroke, Woodward reached for the wall stopping the clock at 1:50.94 earning ninth and Oxborough .04 behind for 10th. 

The final finishes for the Eagles were put away by seniors. Spencer took his final performance slot in the 200 yard Breaststroke taking ninth at 2:03.52.  Donnelly and Dowd wrapped up the men's competition finishes with a 10th and 12th place finish in the 50 yard Freestyle sprint at 20.75 and 20.82, respectively.

The men were very consistent performers, failing to place an individual NAIA National Champion for the first time since 2011 and having no NAIA All-Americans for the first time in program history, but they piled enough points together in top-ten finishes for another top-five team performance.

2013-14 NAIA Men's Swimming & Diving Coaches' Postseason Poll

RANK

LAST TIME^

SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)

TOTAL POINTS

1

1

Oklahoma Baptist (5)

30

2

T5

Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)

20

3

2

SCAD Savannah (Ga.)

12

4

4

Concordia (Calif.)

8

5

3

St. Andrews (N.C.)

4

 

On the women's side, the Eagles' freshman Demi Seghezzi (FR/Grass Valley, CA) took a solid fourth place in her national championship debut on the 1 meter Diving board earning 192.20 points.  Junior Haley McVay (JR/Corona, CA) was right behind her in fifth earning a total of 190.95 points.

The women looked solid as they raced to earn a second place finishes in the 200 yard Freestyle and 400 yard Freestyle relays.  Juniors MacKenzie Bailie, Tara Bletcher (JR/Upland, CA), Brooke Roy (JR/Haleiwa, CA), and sophomore Sarah Jamieson (SO/Goleta, CA) sped to a time of 1:35.94 in the 200 yard Freestyle relay – setting a new school record to match the men's.  Roy, Jamieson, Bailie, and Kaylin Kemper found the rhythm in 400 yard Freestyle relay with a total time of 3:32.01.  All women earned first-time NAIA All-American honors for their performances.

The relay teams continued to perform well for the Eagles as junior Ale Gomez, Bailie, Bletcher, and Roy combined in the 200 yard Medley Relay stopping the clock at 1:46.92 with a sixth place finish.  Gomez, Bailie, freshman Nicole Meyerholz (FR/Vista, CA), and Roy tackled the 400 yard Medley Relay with a top-eight scoring time of 3:58.24 earning sixth.  In the final relay of the tournament for the women the 800 yard Free Relay, senior captain Carly Colin (SR/Mission Viejo, CA), with her teammates, sophomore Samantha Leanza (SO/Laguna Hills, CA), Kemper, and Roy swam a time of 7:52.08 for seventh place.

On the individual side of the pool, the several women earned eight top-eight finishes for the Eagles.  Leading the way was Leanza in the 1650 yard Freestyle race steadily pushing through the water for 17:34.36, earning an overall third place finish, and her first NAIA All-American honor. 

In the 100 yard Butterfly, Bailie found herself in fourth with a time of 57.05 and sophomore Mikala Nelson (SO/Phoenix, AZ) just milliseconds behind for sixth at 57.07.  Both women bettered the existing school record set by Nelson in December.  Roy battled through another event earning a fifth place finish in the 100 yard Freestyle in a prelims time of 51.88.

In the 200 yard Butterfly, Concordia found two scoring finishers led by Nelson in fifth at 2:06.36, breaking her own school record for the second time of the day, and Leanza in 10th at 2:13.88.

Brooke Roy sprinted to a new school record in the 50 yard Freestyle with a 23.40, placing second and earning NAIA All-American honors.

The final two finishes for the Eagles were earned by Nelson in the 500 yard Freestyle race at 5:10.01, after going 5:08.83 in the prelims in seventh – it was Nelson's third appearance in the "BIG" finals;  and Bletcher in the 200 yard Breaststroke for eighth place at a time of 2:30.23. 

It was the fifth straight year the women's side had NAIA All-Americans.

As the year wraps up for the swimmers and divers, the Concordia Eagles can be proud to swim away with a men's overall finish of fourth place of 18 schools and the women with a fifth place finish of 20 schools.  As the water settles for the year and the seniors: Elliot Bilsland, Gabe McDermott (SR/Oakland, CA), Kevin Donnelly, Lucas Spencer, Patrick Sonsteng (SR/Chico, CA), Ryan Kauth (SR/Old Bridge, NJ), Jordyn Gosney (SR/Mesa, AZ), Carly Colin, and Franchesca Wyatt (SR/Bakersfield, CA).

The Eagles will take a few days off then resume spring training while coaches hit the recruiting trail to bring new personalities to the pool for next year.   According to Coach Boss, "We will lose some valuable people to graduation but already have prospects signed and in-line to help us next year."

The 2015 NAIA Swimming & Diving National Championships will return to Oklahoma City Community College for the 4th straight year March 4-7, 2015.

2013-14 NAIA Women's Swimming & Diving Coaches' Postseason Poll

RANK

LAST TIME^

SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)

TOTAL POINTS

1

1

Oklahoma Baptist (5)

30

2

2

SCAD Savannah (Ga.)

20

3

RV

Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)

12

4

4

Brenau (Ga.)

8

5

5

Concordia (Calif.)

4

 

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