Western Courier

Hagen shines at championships

Erica+Hagen+emerges+for+air+during+her+relay.
Erica Hagen emerges for air during her relay.

Erica Hagen emerges for air during her relay.

VISUAL PRODUCTIONS CENTER

VISUAL PRODUCTIONS CENTER

Erica Hagen emerges for air during her relay.

Brie Coder, Copy Editor

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Western Illinois University swim and dive teams concluded their season at The Summit League Championships last Wednesday through Saturday. Men finished fourth in team competition and women finished up in sixth. The four day competition had many highlights for both individual and group competitions.

On Wednesday (Feb. 14), sophomore Brennan Bladel set a record for Western in the 200-free during his 800-free relay lead . Bladel sprinted to a 1:39.54 mark in the 200-free, beating the program record by nearly a full second. He also teamed with junior Joshua Hill, and sophomores Isaiah Pihlstorm and Phillip Kudela for a 6:47.91 total time that was recorded as the third-best in school history. The men’s team came in fourth overall.

Another third-best and fastest in school history came from the women’s 800-free relay from freshmen Marissa Purdum and Amanda Schaefer, and sophomores Miranda Mathus and Casey Roberts. The Purple and Gold finished with a time of 7:50.79, earning themselves a fifth place finish.

There was one more team competition from both the male and female Leatherneck teams on day one of the Championships. Both teams placed fifth in the 200-medley relay. The first team was Mathus, Roberts, sophomore Madison Chao, and freshman Erica Hagen with a time of 1:46.75. The men’s team consisted of Bladel, and freshmen Chance McQuigg, Samir Almhiemid, and Seth Brady. They came in at 1:32.35.

Thursday (Feb. 15) started off with another new record from Purdum in the 50-free with a 23.95 mark. She beat the original school record by one millisecond. In the finals, her 24.17 time placed her in eleventh for the second day of the championship. In the women’s 100-fly, Mathus had a fifth-fastest record in school history with a time of 57.84.

Bladel also set another new time record in the 100-fly with a 49.72 mark, making it the second fastest time in school history. Almhiemid also swam his way to a 49.96 mark in the 100-fly, which placed his newest time as the fourth-best in school history.

The school holder in the 200-IM was McQuigg, who won the B-final with 1:53.73. The women’s 200-free relay team of Purdum, Hagen, Roberts, and sophomore Allison DeWane mastered a second best time in program history with 1:37.28, and a fifth place overall.

On day three of the championships (Feb.16), Bladel, Kudela, and sophomore Connor Owens each landed top-10 finishes in their competitions. Bladel swam for a 50.34 mark in the 100-back prelims, recording a second-best time in the event and in school history, and an eighth place finish. Kudela’s 200-free was the tenth best time in Western’s history. His time was at 1:42.54, placing in ninth. Owens came in at 57.77 in the 100-breast, placing him in twelfth in the meet, and eighth-best of any Leatherneck from the all-time school record.

In the women’s 400-medley relay, Winkel, Hagen, Mathus and Purdum made third best in school history, and fifth-fastest at the meet with a time of 3:53.35. For the men’s 400-medley relay, Bladel, McQuigg, Almhiemid, and Brady came in 4th at 3:20.73.

The final day of The Summit League Championships on Saturday, ended on a high note for all the swimmers, including Hagen. She became the first Western Illinois women’s swimmer since 2010, to finish in the top three. Hagen raced her way to a third place finish in the 100-IM at 57.84. She later competed in the 200-breast with a time of 2:27.15; with a thirteenth place finish. Sophomore Amy Borgstede had an eighth-best mark in program history in the women’s 200-fly with 2:11.30.

The women’s 400-free relay with Mathus, DeWane, Roberts and Purdum set the third-best time in school history (3:33.50).

For the men’s division, Owens 2:02.94 time in the 200-breast was the third best of all time for any Leatherneck swimmer, which earned him fifth place at the Championships. Freshman Garret Kemp had a fourth-fastest mark in the 200-fly with a time of 1:53.20. This time is also the fastest for any Western swimmer historically.

The men finished in fourth with 367.5 points, and the women finished in 5th with 219 points.

Head cocach Greg Naumann was impressed with how the compeition went, yet saw some things that he’d like for the team to improve on for next year. “We had a decent meet,” Naumann said. “It was really good for us when compared to our season times, but not quite as fast as our lifetime best swims. I would have been more excited about the team being able to have more lifetime best swims, but I think a good chunk of the blame should rest on my shoulders. There were a couple of things that we did down the stretch that we can change for the future, but that knowledge didn’t really help is at conference. The team did an awesome job of fighting each and every session. We did have more swimmers get going as the meet progressed, and I thought that we did finish well.”

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Hagen shines at championships