Victory for men and women’s swim

the men and women’s swimming and diving teams from Oakland were both able to finish in first.

By Scott Davis

In their first meet since Dec. 6, the men and women’s swimming and diving teams from Oakland were both able to finish in first over the University of Cincinnati, Kenyon College, and Olivet Nazarene University. The women finished with a score of 971, ahead of Cincinnati with 825, Kenyon College with 821, and Olivet University with 455. The men’s scores were much closer as Oakland edged out Kenyon College 830-822.5, while Cincinnati finished with 769 and Olivet Nazarene finished with 716.5.

For the second time this season, the men’s competition came down to the final race. Oakland trailed Kenyon College and needed a first place finish along with some key finishes from their other teams to win, and did just that. Oakland’s 400 yard freestyle relay team won the race with a time of 3:02.33 and was able to take first place in the overall standings.

Those results are different from the last time the men raced for first place in their final relay, as on Nov. 8 they fell in a heartbreaker to Eastern Michigan University. Head coach Pete Hovland says that he likes it when it comes down to the final because he’s able to find out what his team is really made of.

“It is nice to come out on top in those situations; they keep their head up a little bit higher, they sing the fight song a little bit louder, they’ll enjoy this evening and tomorrow a little bit more than they normally would and hopefully it carries over into next week,” Hovland said.

Heading into the final race, Oakland knew what they had to in order to finish in first place if they wanted to overtake Kenyon. Junior Jorden Merrilees, who had four individual victories over the two days, said that his team talked about making everything right from fast exchanges, to good turns and especially good finishes.

“Coach really amped us up for that last relay especially,” Merrilees said. “Beforehand we knew that we were close, and when the coaches scored it out for us, we knew we had to win it.”

The women had a more comfortable victory, led by sophomore Patricia Aschan who had four individual victories. Aschan won the 400 IM (4:28.69) on Friday night, and then added three victories on Saturday in the 200 fly (2:07.66), 200 backstroke (2:06.35), and 200 IM (2:07.54)

“I did better than I was expecting to do because it is the time of the season when we are tired and we have been working hard,” Aschan said. “I now know what kind of shape I am in so winning the 400 IM yesterday told me that I’m in good shape and that gave me more strength today to swim faster.”

Up next for the two teams is Michigan State on Saturday at 1 p.m in the Oakland Aquatic Center and then Cleveland State on Jan. 31 in Cleveland. The Horizon League championships start Feb. 25 in Wisconsin.