2011-12 Summary: Bulldog Swimming & Diving Program Registers Sensational Season
After leaving its mark on the records book while collecting numerous awards and flourishing at the national level, the 2011-12 edition of Bulldog swimming & diving will go down in Redlands history as one of the best the program has ever seen. Among a talented Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), the men's team finished second in the standings and the women rallied for a third-place showing. In addition, the men put together the strongest season-ending performance in the program's illustrious history by tallying a fifth-place effort at the NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships.
The Maroon and Gray embarked upon its amazing season when the divers jumped into action at the Cal Baptist Diving Invitational in mid-October. Sophomore Eli Niebuhr (Las Vegas, NV) initiated the momentum with a strong performance as he finished second overall with 34 total points en route to guiding Redlands to a first-place victory. Starting the season off on the right note for the women, seniors Shelby Mann (Bainbridge Island, WA) and Andrea Bo (Mountain View, CA), along with freshman DrewAnn Andrews (Pasadena, CA), combined for 76 points, which was enough for the team's third-place finish.
That same day, the Bulldog swimming programs opened the season by hosting the UR October Invite. While challenging various NAIA, and NCAA Division II and III programs, the men's squad used a combination of seniors Tyler Harp (San Bernardino, CA) and Collin Gladys (Yorba Linda, CA), along with the brother tandem of junior Chris Depew (Naperville, IL) and freshman Jeff Depew (Naperville, IL) to take second place in the 200 Medley Relay (1:36.92). Harp picked up right where he left off during his previous seasons by earning a pair of top-five finishes en route to the team's fourth-place finish ahead of three conference foes. Freshmen Margo Macready (Redlands, CA) and Chandra Lukes (Escondido, CA) led the way for the women by putting together impressive times in the various freestyle events to help the team take fifth as the second-best Division III team in the field.
Following a successful tri-meet against Cal Baptist University and Cal State East Bay, Redlands welcomed competitors to the Thompson Aquatic Center for the Bulldog Pentathlon, which allowed swimmers to dabble in a variety of different races. J. Depew and Lukes headlined the day for the Bulldogs, as he took second place for the men and she took fourth on the women's side, both impressing as freshman.
Primed for SCIAC action, the Bulldogs took to the pool for a weekend against the University of La Verne and Occidental College. The men cruised to comfortable victories in both meets, while the women split their results, taking one from La Verne. For the men, rookie J. Depew opened his conference career with wins in the 200 IM (1:59.19) and the 500 Free (5:30.04). For the women, Macready notched two individual victories against La Verne, uncorking first-place times of 2:17.76 in the 200 IM and 56.58 in the 100 Free. Despite the women's loss to Occidental, the 200 Free Relay of seniors Jenny Bates (Littleton, CO) and K.C. Hughes (Gig Harbor, WA), along with junior Jessica Medvec (Tualatin, OR) and freshman Summer Harp (San Bernardino, CA), tallied a winning mark of 1:44.54.
A handful of swimmers enjoyed a break from SCIAC action by attending the Finis Collegiate Invitational in early December. T. Harp, Reed, freshman Eric LoPrete (Beaverton, OR), sophomore Nikolai Paloni (Coronado, CA) and senior Ben Ballard (Riverside, CA) dominated the 100 Free as all five swimmers finished among the top eight in a pool of 52 competitors, with T. Harp out-touching the nearest competitor by more than two seconds with a winning time of 45.93. For the women, Bates won the 100 Free with an excellent mark of 57.04, while Medvec took third place in the 200 Backstroke by clocking in at 2:18.20.
After the holiday break, the Bulldogs returned to action with the bulk of the conference dual meets in front of them, along with a regional showdown against Whitman College (WA).
After celebrating Senior Day with a sweep of Caltech, the teams welcomed Northwest foe Whitman to the Thompson Aquatic Center. The Redlands women prevailed in a 111-94 triumph over the Missionaries due to the help of five event-wins and 18 top-three finishes. One of the day's highlights came in the 100 Free where the trio of Lukes, Hughes and senior Jaime Nippert (Gresham, OR) swept the competition, slotting in first (57.08), second (58.96) and third (59.09), respectively.
Redlands then faced a four-meet road stint against its remaining SCIAC opponents. The Bulldog men rolled past Pomona-Pitzer Colleges to open this stretch, earning a season-high 203 points in SCIAC dual-meet action. The highlight of the day came when the 400 Free Relay of T. Harp, C. Depew, sophomore Clint Freeman (Brentwood, CA) and sophomore Spencer Peugh (Alamo, CA) clocked in a time of 3:12.63 to reset the Haldeman Aquatics Center record.
In late January, the squads cruised to wins over Cal Lutheran University and Whittier College, with the women notching first-place showings in 17 events and the men capturing 22 victories en route to high point totals in both meets.
Unfortunately, both of the swimming & diving programs ended their respective conference winning streaks during the final dual meet of the season against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in early February. With the defeat, the women finished out the campaign with a 4-3 record, while the men boasted a 6-1 conference mark heading into the SCIAC Championships.
As part of the big conference finale, Redlands served as host to the SCIAC Diving Prelims and Championships at the beautiful Thompson Aquatic Center. Some of the conference's best diving competition in quite some time took place during the prelims, with the winners of each event all recording NCAA Division III qualifying scores. For the Bulldogs, Mann, Andrews, and junior Lindsey Zehner (Portland, OR) all moved onto the finals after their strong performances. Niebuhr headlined the Bulldog men's divers with his fourth- and fifth-place finishes to secure his spot in the finals for both events.
The following Saturday, Mann and Zehner finished sixth (272.25) and seventh (239.95), respectively, in the one-meter finals competition. Mann also earned a fifth-place mark (299.85) on the three-meter board, while Andrews took home seventh with a score of 243.45 in her first-ever SCIAC Championships. With extremely stiff competition on the men's side, Niebuhr posted scores of 358.95 (3M) and 381.05 (1M), placing him fourth and fifth in those competitions to round out a successful SCIAC Diving Championships for the Maroon and Gray.
A day later, the squads headed to South Gate Swim Stadium for the swimming portion of the SCIAC Championships. In an exciting showdown of the conference's fastest competitors, the Bulldog men and women pulled away from the majority of the opponents, earning second place after three days of competition. Among the highlights, the teams broke numerous records, garnered NCAA qualifying times, and set the stage for electric races time and again.
The combination of T. Harp, Gladys and the two Depew brothers recorded an impressive time of 3:21.25 in the 400 Medley Relay, which surpassed the conference's fastest mark by more than two seconds and destroyed the meet record by four seconds.
The men continued to bring in the hardware as Gladys reset his own meet record in the 100 Fly (49.25) and won the 100 Breast (55.64) to earn "A" cut times in both races. Newcomer J. Depew garnered his first conference crown in the 200 Back with an NCAA "B" mark of 1:49.66, before later collecting a bronze medal in the 100 Back as the Bulldogs' top swimmer in the event. In one of the final day's most exciting races, sophomore David Ortyn (Bainbridge Island, WA) eclipsed his preliminary time in the 200 Fly by more than two seconds en route to winning the SCIAC title while out-touching teammate C. Depew by two one-hundredths of a second. In addition, Freeman became an All-Conference member with his third-place time of 46.13 in the 100 Free.
T. Harp placed himself among the SCIAC all-time greats by earning his fourth consecutive Athlete of the Year accolade after sweeping the 50 Free, 100 Free, and 200 Free for the second straight season. He defended his 50 Free SCIAC title by swimming the field's lone sub-21-second time (20.85) and clocked in an NCAA "A" time in the 200 Free (1:38.92). He also contributed to numerous successful relay teams for the Maroon and Gray before closing out his stellar conference career.
For the women, Lukes earned her inaugural conference title by swimming a personal-best time of 23.74 in the 50 Free on the opening day of the SCIAC Championships. Lukes continued her success on day two, ripping off a swift 58.02 in the 100 Back while earning an NCAA Championships "B" cut time.
In the 200 Free, Macready just missed out on a gold-medal performance by finishing four one-hundredths of a second off the winning time in a photo finish. Senior McKenzie Nakamura (Kenmore, WA) completed her decorated SCIAC career with a bronze performance in the 200 Breast, earning All-Conference honors as well. Illustrating the Bulldogs' depth, rookie Haley Thiltgen (San Diego, CA) collected her second All-Conference honor by taking second place in the 400 IM (4:39.08) during her first-ever SCIAC Championships. She also earned the accolade with a third-place effort in the 200 IM (2:11.12) during the opening day of competition.
Bates, Zehner, Lukes and Macready teamed up to secure the third-place spot and All-Conference honors in the 400 Free Relay with an impressive time of 3:34.87.
With the combination of the dual meets and the results of the SCIAC Championships, Redlands finished third overall in the women's standings, while the Bulldog men took second. Combining their points together, the Maroon and Gray landed second among all swimming & diving programs in the conference.
However, the season was far from over for the Bulldogs as eight swimmers qualified for the 2012 NCAA Division III Championships. T. Harp, Freeman, Gladys, the Depew brothers, Ortyn and LoPrete represented the men in Indianapolis, IN, while Lukes was the sole selection for the women.
J. Depew kicked off the high-caliber meet with a bang as he won the 200 IM while uncorking a personal-best time of 1:47.60 for his inaugural national title at the championships. For the women, Lukes excelled in her first NCAA Championships by finishing eighth in the 50 Free (23.82) for All-America honors. Capping off the already successful day, the Bulldogs' 200 Medley Relay of the J. Depew, C. Depew, Gladys and T. Harp finished fourth overall with a fantastic time of 1:30.71.
On day two, T. Harp kept the good things going for Redlands when he captured his first-ever national title with an impressive performance in the 200 Free, touching the wall in 1:37.51. It happened to be exactly the same time as Colorado College's Jordan DeGayner, so the two officially shared the illustrious title. Later in the day, the Bulldogs' success continued as the 400 Medley Relay of the Depew brothers, Gladys and Harp combined for the fastest time in SCIAC history while taking second place at the national meet with a stellar time of 3:17.39.
The third day brought Gladys some hardware when he touched the wall at 55.16 seconds in the 100 Breast, giving him a silver-medal finish. The 800 Free Relay of LoPrete, Freeman, C. Depew and T. Harp also put together a solid performance for sixth place, once again scoring points for the U of R's team standings.
On the final day of competition, T. Harp improved upon his own SCIAC record in the 100 Free by clocking in at 44.60 and finishing fourth overall. He joined Freeman, C. Depew and Gladys for the 400 Free Relay in which the quartet swam three seconds faster (3:00.29) than its previous season-best time, resulting in fifth place for another All-America performance.
With these outstanding efforts at the NCAA Division III Championships, the University of Redlands men's swimmers captured 221 points for the most in school history in addition to finishing a program-high fifth place. The women came in 41st after Lukes' outstanding solo performances.
Continuing to uphold the rich Redlands tradition, T. Harp qualified for the US Olympic Trials in the 100 Free during a time trial at the Fran Crippen Swim Meet of Champions. While he did not make the cut for the Olympics, just qualifying for the trials brought an incredible Bulldog career to a close. In addition to being named the four-time SCIAC Athlete of the Year, T. Harp collected numerous All-America awards and notched many record-breaking performances.
Beyond the squads' in-pool success, they also showed off their skills in the classroom by earning CoSIDA Academic All-District accolades. Both T. Harp and junior Patrick Roth (Cottonwood Heights, UT) landed on the All-District First Team. Moreover, T. Harp was tabbed a CoSIDA Academic All-American as one of the top student-athletes among the At-Large sports.
While the loss of the many wildly successful seniors on both the men's and women's squads will make the upcoming season that much tougher, the Bulldogs look to use this season's thrilling experience as motivation for continued success. The returning swimmers and divers strive to build upon the recent tradition of excellence and compete for SCIAC titles as well as strong showings at the NCAA Championships. With Head Coach Trevor Harp providing a multitude of experience, the Redlands swimming & diving teams are in good position to put together yet another exciting season.