Swimming performs well in UAA championship

This past weekend, the Tartan men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams traveled to Rochester, N.Y. for this year’s University Athletic Association (UAA) championship meet. The three-day meet ended with the Carnegie Mellon men in second place following Emory University. The women finished in fourth place behind Emory University, Washington University in St. Louis, and New York University.
Following Thursday’s finals round, defending UAA diving champion sophomore Matt Kuhn was in second place with 430.90 points on the three-meter springboard. His teammate, sophomore Joe Kopko, placed fourth. Coming in third in the 50-yard freestyle, senior Patrick Snyder finished in 21.31. More impressive was his preliminary finish in an NCAA provisional mark of 21.12, his career best, that morning. The other great individual swim for the men came from junior Tom McConnell in the 500-yard freestyle with a career-best time and fifth-place finish of 4:39.00 in the finals.
The men’s 200-yard freestyle relay team clocked its top time of the season, finishing in fourth with a time of 1:25.21. The 400-yard relay team finished in sixth place in a time of 3:30.09.
For the women’s team, first-year Molly Evans finished the 500-yard freestyle in third place in a personal-best time of 5:04.65. Senior Lauren Connell also earned a third place in the 50-yard freestyle with a 24.46. Earlier in preliminaries, Connell recorded a personal best of 24.43, getting an NCAA “B” cut.
Other notable swims include first-year Briane Burton’s sixth- place finish in the 50-yard freestyle in 25.11 and junior Allison Retotar’s eighth-place finish in the 200-yard IM in a personal-best time of 2:13.47.
The 200-yard freestyle relay team came close to a school record with a season-best time of 1:38.93 and a second-place finish. The 400-yard freestyle relay team crushed the old school record by 2.47 seconds to get third place in 3:58.15 and an NCAA “B” cut.
On Friday, the men’s team congratulated its first individual champion of the meet, sophomore Jeff Dahlen, who won the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 52.47 and picked up an NCAA “B” cut. Sophomore John Johnson also participated in the finals heat with a fifth-place finish in a time of 53.38.
The 100-yard breaststroke was another strong event for the Tartans, with sophomore Jason Huber coming in third, followed by juniors Brad Henderson and Ryan Hofler. In the preliminaries, first-year Alex Hanson shaved seconds off his 400-yard IM time to get an NCAA “B” cut of 2:07.39. In finals, he placed sixth overall. Senior Patrick Snyder swam a career-best time of 1:43.76 and earned sixth in the finals for the 200-yard freestyle. The two relays for the day (200-yard medley and 800-yard freestyle) both received NCAA “B” cuts.
The women’s team had an impressive showing on Friday with swimmers reaching finals in all five individual races. The first individual to reach finals was senior Anna Kochalko, who finished third overall in the 400-yard IM in 4:39.67. First-year Rebecca Ussai then placed seventh in the 100-yard butterfly.
Connell swam in the finals for the 200-yard freestyle, getting sixth place. Sophomore Sara Andrews finished third in the 100-yard breaststroke with a career-best time of 1:07.86. Evans placed second in the 100-yard backstroke in a career-best time of 58:48.
The 800-yard freestyle team comprised of Andrews, Evans, Retotar, and Kochalko finished in third with an NCAA “B” cut of 7:50.32.
The final day saw two new Tartan UAA champions, both in the 200-yard backstroke. Evans won the event in a career-best time of 2:04.67, breaking her previous school record and the UAA meet record. Evans has already qualified for NCAA championships.
The second UAA champion from Carnegie Mellon was sophomore John Johnson with a time of 1:53.66. Johnson was followed by Dahlen in second place, and two other teammates placed in the finals. Both Johnson and Dahlen finished with NCAA “B” cuts.
Finishing third overall in the 100-yard freestyle, Snyder got an NCAA “B” cut of 46.30 and earned All-UAA marks. McConnell finished fourth in the 1650-yard freestyle with a “B” cut of 16:02.75. Sophomore Andrew Seo and junior Brad Henderson finished second and third, respectively, with “B” cut times. Huber and Hofler finished sixth and eighth in the event as well.
On the women’s side, Connell finished third in the 100-yard freestyle, earning All-UAA marks and a season-best time of 53.32. Kochalko had an impressive 200-yard butterfly race, finishing second in 2:09.97 and getting a third All-UAA mark in the meet. Junior Charlotte Jennings placed fourth in diving and scored a national cut on the three-meter board.
Senior Margaret Hebner had three career-best swims throughout the meet.
“I was very pleased with the performances of both teams,” she said. “The men especially showed amazing depth to move from third to second place. It was a great way to end my senior year and swimming career.”
This meet concluded the season for the majority of the swimmers and divers on the teams. Some will continue on to the NCAA championships in March, depending on where the qualifying times are set.