2016-17 Summary: Bulldog Swimming & Diving Accelerates through High-Quality Campaign

2016-17 Summary: Bulldog Swimming & Diving Accelerates through High-Quality Campaign

With talent, depth, and dedication, the University of Redlands men's and women's swimming & diving programs each put together an impressive 2016-17 campaign that included a pair of third-place showings for 11 All-Conference recipients at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championships. The teams combined for 34 top-10 times in the Bulldog record books, sent three divers to the NCAA Regionals for the first time in school history, and saw their sole national qualifier earn two All-America Honorable Mention nods in a fine finish to a truly outstanding season of success.

The Bulldogs kicked off the year by recording multiple exciting performances in a solid first outing at the Pomona-Pitzer Relay Meet that includes unique events for a fun, early-season experience in late October. For the women, the 4x100 Medley IM Relay of senior Ellie Jaques (Covina, CA), senior Danielle Miller (Hood River, OR), freshman Courtney Gray (Yucaipa, CA), and junior Claire Stuhr (Portland, OR) uncorked a winning time of 4:16.78. The 300 Fly Relay of Stuhr, Jaques, and freshman Taylor Cadile (San Jose, CA) also impressed with a first-place effort that clocked in at 3:06.37.

Next, the Redlands swimming & diving teams jumped into SCIAC action against Caltech at the Thompson Aquatic Center. With impressive depth, the Bulldogs dominated the Beavers by combining for 20 event-wins in a quality showing. Freshman Sami Scarano (Boulder, CO) shined on the diving board with a first-place effort in the one-meter competition with a score of 233.10. She led off a Bulldog sweep of all standings in that event. In addition to Gray and Jaques winning their respective races, junior Emily Waddell (Bellevue, WA) landed on the top of the podium in the 50 Free with a time of 24.85 before firing off a first-place time of 54.40 in the 100 Free. Senior Cassidy Cramton (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) took care of business in the 500 Free by topping the competition with a time of 5:36.46, before senior Jessica Rivers (Renton, WA) touched the wall first in the 100 Breast in 1:10.67. In the men's victory, senior Eric Bugna (Vancouver, WA) led the charge in the 1000 Free by taking first with a time of 10:26.77, while junior Brian Wright (Kent, WA) out-touched the competition in the 200 Free (1:47.45) and 500 Free (5:03.13). On the one-meter board, freshman Jacob Miner (Antioch, CA) led off a sweeping Bulldog performance with a first-place score of 275.40.

After a great win for the men at the SOKA Invitational, both teams fell just short to Pomona-Pitzer in their second SCIAC meet of the campaign. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs quickly bounced back to build momentum with strong performances at the UPS Logger Invite in early December before prevailing over Occidental College and the University of La Verne. During the Maroon and Gray's fun yet competitive trip to Tacoma, WA, the 200 Free Relay of sophomore Aaron Bauer (Garden Grove, CA), freshman Michael Talag (Lakewood, CA), senior Will Tyrrell (Portland, OR), and sophomore Joe Widuch (Naperville, IL) edged out the competition with a winning time of 1:26.82 in a fast race. Against the SCIAC foes, senior Jessica Kolsky (Red Wing, MN) excelled on both diving boards by notching a pair of first-place scores. She led the competition with her tally of 222.80 in the one-meter event while registering a winning mark of 233.05 on the three-meter board. Miller also impressed in the 100 Back with her first-place time of 1:02.63, while Stuhr added a gold-medal showing in the 200 IM by touching the wall in 2:16.16. Finally, Waddell reigned supreme in the 50 Free (25.63) and 100 Free (56.00).

After registering an unfavorable result against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, Redlands came out on top in a road meet against the Whittier College Poets. The men prevailed by a score of 145-89, while the women secured a 137-103 win. In addition, Head Coach Leslie Whittemore notched her 100th men's dual-meet victory for another impressive milestone in her outstanding career as a Bulldog. Overall, the Maroon and Gray combined to win 16 events while also recording 13 second-place performances and 14 third-place showings. Highlighting the success of the men's team, junior Henry Stuckenschmidt (Fresno, CA) out-touched the competition in the 1000 Free with a time of 10:17.68, while sophomore Sean Todd (Highland, CA) closely followed in 10:38.70 for second place. Freshman Chloe Cadiz (Paia, HI) led the Bulldog women on the one-meter board with her first-place score of 257.70.

Prior to taking on Cal Lutheran University and Chapman University in the final home meet of the year, the teams honored the careers of their seven senior women in Leah Bolin (Oshkosh, WI), Cramton, Tracy Cresta (Pasadena, CA), Sara Frank (West Linn, OR), Jaques, Kolsky, and Miller. In addition they celebrated their three senior men in Bugna, Miko Mallari (Palo Alto, CA), and Tyrrell. In a total-team effort, the Redlands women secured a 139-82 win over Chapman and a 135-89 victory against Cal Lutheran. The Bulldog men split results by topping the Panthers, 185-26, but falling in a close one to the Kingsmen, 103-117. The women dominated the one-meter diving competition by sweeping the top three spots. Scarano took first with a score of 232.85, with Kolsky earning a second-place score of 226.10 and junior Lindsay Nichols (Arroyo Grande, CA) taking third with a total of 210.40. On the men's side, Miner won both diving competitions with a one-meter score of 268.20 and a three-meter total of 240.60. Mallari added a pair of second-place showings with respective tallies of 228.20 and 217.50. Furthermore, the 200 Medley Relay of Widuch, freshman Cortlandt Nelsen (Beaverton, OR), Bugna, and Bauer put together a winning time of 1:38.69 to start things off right in the swimming events. Tyrrell, freshman Carter Kerwin (Bakersfield, CA), freshman Matt Skinner (Lakewood, CA), and freshman Kyle Jackson (Naperville, IL) completed the 1-2 punch for the Bulldogs by taking second with a time of 1:42.69.

The Maroon and Gray completed the regular season with the SCIAC Championships at the Brenda Villa Aquatic Center in Commerce in late February. Both programs finished third in the standings amidst an exciting meet that included multiple NCAA "B" times, All-SCIAC performances, and plenty of personal achievement. The Bulldog women totaled 501 points to remain steady in their position throughout the four-day event, while the Redlands men elevated one spot to third on the final day with a total score of 558 points, which was 18 more than fourth-place Cal Lutheran. Highlighting the women's success, Jaques was named the SCIAC Athlete of the Year after a high-quality showing in her final conference competition. In addition to firing off an NCAA "B" cut time of 2:21.48 to take home the silver in the 200 Breast, she captured a pair of individual championships with additional NCAA "B" standards in the 200 IM (2:05.71) and 400 IM (4:28.50). Her 400 IM performance came on a school-record time as well. In addition, the women put together times in the 200 Medley Relay, 400 Medley Relay, and 800 Free Relay that not only gained All-SCIAC accolades but placed these quartets among the all-time, top-three in Redlands history. Miller, Jaques, Stuhr and Waddell combined efforts to finish third at the meet and rank second on the Bulldogs' top-10 list in the 200 Medley Relay with a time of 1:47.03. Jaques, Waddell, Cramton, and Cadile repeated this effort in the 800 Free Relay that touched the wall in 7:46.98 for third all-time at Redlands. Finally, the 400 Medley Relay of Miller, Jaques, Stuhr, and Waddell fired off a time of 3:56.72 to take third at the meet for the third-fastest time in Redlands history.

For the men, the Bulldogs gained another impressive outing from Miner with his second-place score of 480.45 on the one-meter board. In addition to earning All-SCIAC honors, he punched his ticket to the NCAA Regional Championships. Widuch completed an impressive conference final by uncorking an NCAA "B" cut time of 1:50.40 for second place in the 200 Back for All-Conference recognition. He repeated this effort in the 100 Back with the second-fastest time in school history at 50.03, before taking fourth at the meet and ranking third all-time at Redlands in the 100 Fly with a time of 49.98. The 200 Medley Relay of Widuch, Wright, Bugna, and Bauer completed the race in 1:33.19 to take third for another All-Conference award. Widuch also joined Jackson, Bugna, and Wright to comprise the Bulldogs' top 400 Medley Relay, which clocked a time of 3:25.40 for fourth place at the meet but third all-time in school history. In addition, Bugna fired off a sixth-place time of 1:52.89 among a very fast 200 Fly race that included six NCAA "B" cut swims.

For the first time in school history, the University of Redlands sent three divers to the NCAA Regional Championships, which were held at Grinnell College (IA) in 2017. Miner placed fifth on both boards, accumulating 369.75 points in the one-meter competition while amassing 366.70 points in the three-meter. For the women, Scarano finished 15th on the one-meter board with a total of 360.80. She took 17th in the three-meter event by earning 319.30 points. Kolsky capped off her career in her second NCAA appearance by taking 16th in the three-meter competition with an 11-dive score of 319.30. She also scored 330.80 points on the one-meter board for 18th place.

The Bulldogs' season continued when Jaques headed to the NCAA Division III Swimming Championships in Shenandoah, TX, where she competed in the 200 IM, 400 IM, and 200 Breast as Redlands' sole representative. She advanced to the consolation final in both the 200 IM and the 200 Breast, earning All-America Honorable Mention for her top-16 showings in both events. She finished the 200 IM in 15th by touching the wall in 2:05.71p and then rattled off a school-record time of 2:18.92p in the 200 Breast for 16th place.

Furthermore, Jaques earned a spot on the College Swimming Coaches Association of America's (CSCAA) Scholar All-America Team for her success in the classroom as an NCAA competitor in 2016-17. The Redlands men's and women's teams also collected this honor as a whole by posting a team GPA of 3.0 or better.

In addition, the Maroon and Gray landed 12 women and nine men among the SCIAC's All-Academic Team that honors student-athletes with a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or better.

Although the graduating class of Bulldogs leaves an obvious void, the Redlands swimming & diving program looks to build on this year's momentum with future success. Under the direction of Head Coach Leslie Whittemore, the program refuses complacency while reaching for the next level within the SCIAC and beyond.