Swim and dive sees individual success

Erica Hagen comes up for a breath during her breast stroke event.


Erica Hagen comes up for a breath during her breast stroke event.

Bradley Piros, Assistant Sports Editor

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Both the Western Illinois men and women’s swim teams continued their season over the weekend when they traveled on over to the University of Northern Iowa. When they got there, they were set to face off against the University of Northern Iowa, Valparaiso University and South Dakota State University.

While the Leathernecks didn’t exactly dominate, there were some individuals and relays that pleased head coach Greg Naumann.

“For our first meet of the season we had a lot of great swims and dives,” Naumann said. “We had a lot of our freshman stepping up during their first meet, and our usual leaders from last year continued where they left off. We had great team energy getting behind our teammates and cheering each other on in their races. We did struggle with staying on top of our races as the meet went on, but that is something that will be fixed with our training.”

Kicking things off, four Leathernecks earned individual first place finishes. That all started with junior Brennan Bladel as he swam his way to first in two events, the 200-yard backstroke (1:55.64) and the 200-IM (1:57.87). He later got second place in the 200-free and was the only person to podium five times for Western.

Along with him, was one of the team’s leaders, senior Samir Almhiemid. He won the 100-backstroke event with a time of 53.57. He finished first in another event later on, which was the 200-medley relay. He was teamed up with Bladel, junior Connor Owens and freshman Adam Peterson.

Peterson won the 50-free with a fast time of 21.66 and rounding out the win column was sophomore Garret Kemp who touched first in the 200-fly with a time of (1:58.86).

Along with the wins, Western’s male swimmers also had some close second place finishes. Junior Philip Kudela finished .03 too late in the 100-free while Owens missed first in the 200-breast by only .17 seconds.

Rounding out men’s competition was a couple of third place finishes from Owens in the 100-breast (1:00.94) and Almhiemid in the 100-free (48.76).

The women also had individual success but were unable to find that first place finish. Freshman Laramie Reed was the closest to touching first, missing out by only .16 in the 200-IM.

Senior Erica Hagen took charge in her events picking up second and a pair of third place finishes. She kicked things off in the 100-breast with a time of (1:06.29) for second and followed it up with third in the 200-breast (2:33.44) and the 200-IM (2:17.73).

Things finished with a couple more third place finishes, this time from junior Miranda Mathus and freshman Alexis Dreyer. Mathus took third in the 100-back (1:01.60) and in her first collegiate swim meet, Dreyer finished third in the 500-free (5:22.02).

Overall, it was a good individual day, but Western also showed some good relay competition. The men had a pair of relay wins in the already mentioned 200-medley and the 200-free relay while both of the women’s relays finished second.

It was a good second meet, improving upon opening weekend for sure, and they’ll all only look to get better. As the season goes on, swimmers will be trying to reach new PR’s and hopefully put a few more in the win column, because they absolutely have the talent to do those things this year.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will continue their season this weekend when they take on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis on the road in a dual meet.

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