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Swimming and diving dominates Pioneer Classic

John Brady
Jenny Dong ’17 swims butterfly at last weekend’s Pioneer Classic. Photo by John Brady.

Both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams dominated last weekend’s Pioneer Classic, with each team clinching first place. The men claimed first place with 1178 points while the women compiled 1506.5 points.

“I feel that we went into the meet and we attacked every session,” said Ian Dixon-Anderson ’17. “We tried really hard in each section. Each session we tried to swim as fast as possible, so by not slacking off in any one session, we pulled through.”

Dixon-Anderson led charge on the men’s side in the two-day event. On Friday, he won the 500-yard freestyle race with a time of 4:50.65. He continued his strong performance the next day and took the first place honor in the 400-yard individual medley. He also took second in the 200 butterfly.

Jenny Dong ’17 swims butterfly at last weekend’s Pioneer Classic. Photo by John Brady.
Jenny Dong ’17 swims butterfly at last weekend’s Pioneer Classic.
Photo by John Brady.

Also on Saturday, Bennett claimed first in the 200 freestyle, while Joshua Cottle ’18 and Ben Weideman ’15 took first in the 1650 freestyle and 200 backstroke, respectively. The quartet of Tim Sherwood ’16, Thomas Robinson ’16, Nick Roberson ’18 and Bennett recorded first place in the 800 freestyle relay.

“What we were trying to do is figure out who is going to swim probably for conference depending on training and what’s going on,” Dixon-Anderson said. “This is probably the first big meet where we haven’t really been rested for it. With all this pressure, people performed really well and it’s really good to see what’s going on with the team.”

On the women’s side, the team took an early lead thanks to a meet record in the 400-yard medley relay by Maria Venneri ’18, Maddy Pesch ’16, Beth Gillig ’15 and Beth Tsuha ’17.

“Our coach just took who she thought would at this point in the season be most beneficial to that relay based on who was training the best in those certain strokes,” Venneri said. “And so we all warmed up and we just got ready for the relay and you get there and you do it and it’s just a great feeling in the end.”

Tsuha won the 500 freestyle on the same day. Venneri then broke the school record she set earlier this year on the following day. In the 200 backstroke, she finished the race in 2:09.83.

“I train a lot of backstroke during practice because it’s my best stroke,” she said. “I’ve been working on improving my starts and my turns and I went into it thinking I want to get a good time and just hopefully get first and then it just ended up that I got the school record.”

Venneri also championed in the 100 backstroke. Tsuha took the top honors three times, this time in the 200, 800 relay and 1650 freestyle races. The 800 relay team members also consisted of Gillig, Josie Bircher ’16 and Ana Karin Kozjek ’17. Hayley Levin ’16 also claimed first in her 400 individual medley while Pesch won the 200 breaststroke to help seal the victory.

With the semester nearing the end, the two teams will make their annual Florida trip during winter break.

“I’m really excited. I’ve heard some really great things about it,” Venneri said. “It’s just going to bring us closer as a team, and I’m hoping that when we come back, we’ll be ready to compete and have a really good Conference.”

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