Ro Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
After six long months of practices, meets, and trips, the Ursinus College Swim Team has finally closed their season. On the weekend of February 17-20th , both Men’s and Women’s swimming competed in the Centennial Conference Championship, which took place at Franklin and Marshall College. Arriving on the 17th, a Thursday night, the Bears dove into the first session out of a total 7. Despite only having 10 women and 14 men, both teams combined broke 6 records and placed fourth overall at the end of the meet. But breaking records was not the only accomplishment for these Bears.
With breaking records also comes a lot of first place medals, and the women made sure they came home with some gold. Senior Captain, Sophie Lear, placed first in all of her sprint events, starting the Bears off with 3 gold medals for individual events, and 2 more golds from relays. Senior Oliviah Rachael was right behind Lear in all of her sprint events. Following Lear and Rachael was sophomore Missy Leonard, who also earned herself 3 individual gold medals and 2 golds from relays. Not only did the women finish with a total of 8 gold medals, right behind Swarthmore College’s 9, but they also won every sprint freestyle event except for one. The Men’s team also placed high in just about every one of their events. Senior Captain Ryan Carkhuff led the Men’s team in all sprint freestyle events and sophomore Stephen Lyons was right behind him. Freshman Jonah Kasznay led the men in stroke events, but Senior Captain Matt Snyder and juniors Max Valeriano and Ryan Schreffler, also contributed to some wins.
After being away from a Championship meet for two years, the Bears did not hold back. There was much more than wins that made this meet so spectacular. Making memories and showing the underclassmen, as well as prospective students, that the work they put in all season pays off was another huge accomplishment for the team. Carkhuff explains that he was “able to choose a walkout song because I placed first in the 50 free, so that was a cool experience. We also finished top 3 in two of my relays and that is the highest place we have gotten in my career. Finally, seeing the whole team swim well was awesome. I was very happy and proud of my teammates and honored to be their captain.” Lear added, “To start, the relays were super exciting. It showcased how well every girl on the team was performing for each other. As a team almost half the size of other teams, we held our own in the conference and that was the best part of the weekend.”
While the team was busy making a huge impression, they also wanted to show what this meet means for all of them. “I hope it showed the underclassmen that all of their hard work and time in and out of the pool was worth it and paid off. In future years, they need to remember the fun they had at this meet but also how they got there.” explained Carkhuff. Making an example of what the success that this program has and showing how close the team is, was a great way to end their season. “This meet was an example of the unending support from each other, our coaches, and our families. We truly have the best support system in the conference, and one person’s success is everybody’s success,” concluded Lear.While all of these aqua Bears have finished up their season, there are two left that qualified to compete at Nationals during the week of March 14-20th. Sophie Lear is attending for her second trip in this competition, while Ryan Carkhuff is the first male from UC to ever make it. As a member of the UC Swim Team myself, I wish them the best of luck as they go to represent UC. Go Bears!