The University of Redlands swimming & diving teams put together a solid campaign by utilizing a revamped roster full of young talent and experienced veterans alike. After each team registered a 5-3 showing in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) dual meets, the Bulldog men finished third and the Redlands women took fourth at the SCIAC Championships. In addition, the Maroon and Gray saw three individuals gain postseason opportunities as fine representatives of the Redlands swimming & diving program.
The U of R kicked off the season with speedy times at the Bulldog Pentathlon in October. Sophomore Olivia Cano (Dublin, CA) headlined the event with a five-race total of 5:20.82. Her best finish came in her gold-medal performance in the 100 Free with a time of 56.20. The first-years took it from there, as Sarah Martin (Tualatin, OR) topped the competition with a mark of 1:09.85 in the 100 Breast in her first race of the year. Joining Martin with a strong debut, first-year Sydney Nakagawa (Vancouver, WA) stopped the clock in 1:02.48, which was only two-tenths of a second behind the leader for a second-place finish in the 100 Backstroke.
The men also shined at the home opener with first-year Lucas Walker (Mountain View, CA) impressing with a second-place showing off of a combined time of 4:39.30. He turned in a first-place time of 1:00.07 in the 100 Breast and took second in the 100 Individual Medley with a time of 55.13 in his collegiate debut. First-year Samuel Ayers (Orinda, CA) shared the podium with a combined third-place time of 4:44.06, which was aided by a first-place time of 47.79 in the 100 Free.
In early November, Redlands jumped into SCIAC action by hosting the University of La Verne at the Thompson Aquatic Center (TAC). Between the two teams, the Maroon and Gray captured 27 first-place showings and 24 second-place performances en route to a pair of solid wins. For the men, sophomores John Nelson (Parker, CO) and Eric Forbes (Ladera Ranch, CA), and first-year Derrick Garcia (Orinda, CA) and Ayers set the tone out of the gates with a first-place time of 1:39.17 in the 200 Medley Relay. In an impressive performance in the 1000 Free, first-year Tom Jansen (Pleasant Hill, CA) created more than a 30-second gap in his victory with a quality time of 10:13.68. Nelson and first-year Anders Stenfjord (Shoreline, WA) went 1-2 in the 100 Back with respective times of 56.14 and 56.71, while Jansen and sophomore Jordan Convery (Fairview, OR) finished as the top two in the 500 Free with sub-five-minute times. In the diving competition, junior Jacob Miner (Antioch, CA) claimed Bulldog victories with a score of 258.90 off the three-meter board and a tally of 277.75 in the one-meter competition.
The women also gained points early by winning the 200 Medley Relay, as Nakagawa, Cano, and first-years Makenna Parenti (Rocklin, CA) and Mary Tanouye (Kiel, WI) joined forces for a time of 1:54.31. In the 50 Free, first-year Jacqueline Setlich (Laguna Niguel, CA) touched the wall in 25.93 for first place and then led a Maroon and Gray sweep in the 100 Free with a time of 55.94. After the Bulldogs swept the 200 Back and the 200 Breast, senior Wendy McAleer (Simi Valley, CA) began her final season with a win in the 100 Fly with a time of 1:00.28. Fellow senior IvyLee Senn (Novato, CA) enjoyed a solid start to her senior year as well with a first-place time of 2:05.15 in the 200 Free.
In December, the Bulldogs sent select members to the three-day Winter Invite. On the first day, the men's 200 Free Relay of Ayers, Forbes, first-year Tanner Gish (La Canada, CA), and senior Aaron Bauer (Garden Grove, CA) fired off the first-place time of 1:26.19. On day two, the men won four events, as highlighted by Bauer, Ayers, senior Jack Ivey (Albuquerque, NM), and Garcia pacing the pool in the 800 Free Relay by nearly eight seconds with a time of 7:09.41. On the final day, Ayers won the 100 Free in 46.77 and went on to join Forbes, junior Bryce Hurick (Exeter, CA), and Bauer in the 400 Free Relay by registering a time of 3:12.85 to finish nearly five seconds ahead of second place.
Cano posted the women's team's best finish on day one with a second-place effort in the 400 IM (4:49.66). Junior Julia Hagenbaumer (Naperville, IL) also made her way onto the podium in the 100 Breast by uncorking a time of 1:07.09 for third place. The Maroon and Gray enjoyed its best performances on the final day, which included three of the top-four finishes in the 200 Breast. Martin led the charge with a second-place time of 2:26.20, which was four seconds faster than her preliminary time. Cano trailed closely behind in third (2:26.24), while Hagenbaumer finished fourth (2:27.73).
After starting the New Year with a dominating win over the University of Puget Sound (WA) in a fun, co-ed competition, Redlands carried that momentum into a tri-meet sweep against Chapman University and Caltech. The Bulldog men and women registered 15 wins each in an excellent performance at the TAC. On the women's side, first-year Emily Heaston (Corona, CA) out-touched the competition in the 200 Free (2:02.40) and then claimed first place in the 500 Free (5:32.86). She also teamed up with Parenti, Cano, and Senn for a 400 Free Relay that clocked a second-place time of 3:57.02. In addition, Nakagawa enjoyed a fast day with a victory in the 200 Back (2:14.13) and a silver-medal time of 25.62 in the 50 Free.
During the tri-meet, Stenfjord, Walker, Garcia, and Ayers earned the men's first win of the day in the 400 Medley Relay with a solid time of 3:37.92. Ayers went on to win the 200 Free (1:47.57) and 100 Free (47.86), while Walker also captured first-place times in the 200 IM (1:59.71) and 200 Breast (2:09.40). Off the boards, Miner and sophomore Max Spiegel (Englewood, CA) offered a 1-2 punch in the diving competition with solid scores for first and second place.
Redlands battled through an up-and-down finish to the conference season, with the men topping Occidental College and Whittier College, while the women prevailed against Whittier and Cal Lutheran University. Among the highlights against Oxy, the Bulldog men saw Convery and Jansen combine for a 1-2 punch in the 1000 Free with respective times of 10:18.00 and 10:22.48. Bauer stepped up in the freestyle sprints with a first-place time of 22.03 in the 50 and a second-place showing in the 100 at 49.12. The women produced a sweep in the 100 Breast, beginning with Hagenbaumer's time of 1:08.46. Martin and first-year Hanna Parker (Seattle, WA) joined her on the podium. McAleer led another 1-2-3 showing in the 200 IM with a mark of 2:15.39 as Cano and Nakagawa quickly followed to complete the sweep.
During the SCIAC Diving Championships, Miner improved his preliminary score on the three-meter board by more than 10 points to claim bronze in the final with a score of 475.95 for his third consecutive All-SCIAC honor in the event. In the one-meter competition, Miner racked up 455.30 points for a fourth-place finish, while Spiegel improved upon his preliminary score by 30 points to finish in seventh with 366.60 points. For the women, junior Sami Scarano (Boulder, CO) tallied 408.35 points off the one-meter board to finish fifth overall. On day two, she captured 371.20 points for a seventh-place result in the three-meter.
Four days later, the Bulldogs served as hosts of the SCIAC Swimming Championships in Commerce, with the men snagging third place and the women coming in fourth.
On the men's side, Bauer shined in the 50 Free, as he finished only three-one-hundredths of a second behind the leader in the preliminaries. He went on to snag a third-place finish in an ultra-tight race where the top-four finishers stopped the clock within three-tenths of a second of each other. Bauer joined juniors Carson Brett (Exeter, CA) and Michael Talag (Lakewood, CA), and Ayers, for a fourth-place time of 1:24.34 in the 200 Free Relay. Ayers parlayed his strong preliminary performance into an All-SCIAC time of 1:41.29 in the 200 Free. In the same event, Bauer swam an impressive time of 1:41.09 to win the consolation final. In the consolation final of the 100 Fly, junior Matt Skinner (Lakewood, CA), Stenfjord, and senior Lucas Ulmer (Camas, WA) went 2-3-4 with respective times of 51.48, 51.62, and 51.78. Convery won the 400 IM consolation final with a time of 4:10.30. On the final day of competition, Bauer and Ayers set the stage with an impressive 1-2 finish in the 100 Free for All-SCIAC performances. Bauer finished first in 45.47, while Ayers quickly followed in 45.48. In the final race of the day, Carson, Ulmer, Ayers, and Bauer joined forces for a silver-medal finish in the 400 Free Relay with a time of 3:03.01.
For the women, Heaston, Setlich, Cano, and Senn combined to place sixth in the 800 Free Relay with a time of 8:01.48. Sophomore August Key (Albuquerque, NM) touched the wall in 2:09.50 for a sixth-place finish in the 200 IM final. The Bulldogs fared well in the consolation finals, with McAleer touching the wall in 2:10.91 of the 200 IM for a second-place finish. Nakagawa also orchestrated a solid third-place finish in the 50 Free with a time of 24.41. McAleer added to her success by firing off an All-SCIAC and school-record performance in the 100 Fly with a speedy time of 55.94. In the same race, Key swam to a sixth-place showing with a time of 57.10, while Parenti finished second in the consolation final in 57.77. With another school-record-breaking performance, Hagenbaumer uncorked a fifth-place time of 1:05.16 in the 100 Breast. McAleer turned in another All-Conference performance in the 200 Fly with a time of 2:06.27. Parenti and Key also joined her in that race to finish seventh and eighth with times of 2:09.89 and 2:10.68, respectively. In the 200 Breast, Cano touched the wall in 2:23.91 for fifth, while Hagenbaumer finished in 2:24.27 in sixth. Finally, Nakagawa, Setlich, Key, and McAleer ended the meet with a fifth-place performance in the 400 Free Relay with a time of 3:36.34.
Transitioning into the NCAA Division III Regional Diving Championships a couple of weeks later, Miner and Scarano represented the Bulldogs in Grinnell, Iowa. On the first day, Miner took 12th off the one-meter board with a tally of 382.15, as Scarano earned a 13th-place score of 302.25 in the three-meter. On day two, Miner earned All-Region honors by scoring 429.65 points on the high dive for sixth place. Scarano improved her place to 10th by notching a score of 342.85 in the one-meter competition.
As the team's only qualifier for the NCAA Division III Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, McAleer fired off a time of 2:12.86 in the 200 IM. She also uncorked the second-fastest time of her career in the 100 Fly with a mark of 56.81 to finish in 27th place at the high-caliber meet. She concluded her season with a career-best time of 2:05.98 in the 200 Fly for a 24th-place showing.
With a significant step in the right direction, the Redlands swimming & diving teams look forward to building upon the momentum of the 2018-19 campaign as the Bulldogs push toward the top of the conference and beyond. Head Coach Leslie Whittemore will look to capitalize on the talented and experienced youth of the squad that raises the bar on the expectations of the program.