Messiah Earns Pair Of Sixth Place Finishes At Swarthmore Invite
Swarthmore, PA — The Messiah men’s and women’s swim teams competed in the two-day Swarthmore Invitational over the weekend. Among a very competitive field, the women compiled 295 points for sixth place - out of ten teams - while the men also placed sixth – out of nine teams - and earned 241 points.
On the women’s side, Widener University won the invitational with 625 points and Rowan University was the victor for the men with 1038.
“This was a great test for us,” head coach Nancy Luley said. “The meet is set-up like MAC Championships; it’s a grueling schedule. I asked a lot of my athletes and they delivered against some really strong teams, so I’m pleased overall.”
Messiah’s women’s team was led by juniors Katelynn Sagaser and Molly Handley, sophomore Hanna Schaffer, and freshmen Lauren Clune and Laura Penwell.
The Falcons soared in the relay events, finishing second in the 200-yard medley relay to begin Saturday’s events. With a time of 1:55.98, Sagaser, Clune, Penwell, and Schaffer shattered the previous school record of 1:58.16. The same four-some placed sixth in the 400-yard medley relay with a time of 4:15.78.
Freshman Nicole Barberides joined Penwell, Clune, and Sagaser for another record-breaking swim in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Their new school record stands at 8:26.19.
“These ladies swam amazing races,” Luley said. “They absolutely trounced the previous records, but I still believe that they can go a lot faster. I’m anxious to see where those records stand by the time we reach MAC’s.”
In the 200-yard freestyle relay, Penwell, Handley, freshman Hannah Teklits, and Schaffer earned a fifth place finish with a time of 1:44.90.
Handley joined Clune, Sagaser, and Schaffer to place sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay at 3:51.38.
Sagaser earned the highest individual finish of the meet for the Falcons, placing second in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:00.76. In the 200-yard individual medley (2:16.18) and 200-yard backstroke (2:14.11), Sagaser finished third and fourth, respectively.
Schaffer also earned a third place finish in the 100-yard freestyle at :55.56. In the 50-yard freestyle, Schaffer sprinted into fifth place with a time of :25.51, while Penwell earned a personal best time of :26.61 and a 15th place finish.
Penwell, a Clarendon, Pa. native, earned a solid sixth place in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:02.45. Penwell went on to swim the 200-yard butterfly - for the first time - and finished a respectable 11th place at 2:27.28.
A true distance swimmer, Cluneturned out solid times as well, finishing ninth and 10th in the 500-yard freestyle (5:28.43) and 200-yard freestyle (2:05.06) respectively. Schaffer earned a personal best time of 2:06.42 in the 200-yard freestyle for 14th place.
“Clune and Penwell have started their collegiate careers very well,” Luley said. “Laura (Penwell) is a solid swimmer who will do both butterfly and sprint freestyle. Lauren (Clune) will focus on distance freestyle and fill the void for breaststroke. I am excited to see how they improve over the next few years.”
On the men’s side, the highest finish for the Falcons came in the relays as they placed sixth in four events.
In the opening men’s race, the 200-yard freestyle relay, sophomores Nate Brown and Taylor Shields, junior Tim Alarcon, and senior Zach McArdle – who swam the best split of his career – earned sixth place with a time of 1:32.38.
Freshman Luke Sagaser, sophomore Dan Wingert, freshman Michael Lacson, and Brown combined for a time of 3:55.68 for sixth place and 26 additional team points.
In the 200-yard medley relay, sixth place went to senior Matt Wells, Wingert, sophomore Zach Krueger, and freshman Sam Kidd at 1:49.46.
The final relay team to capture sixth place was Alarcon, Lacson, Brown, and McArdle in the 800-yard freestyle relay with a time of 7:56.49.
Alarcon performed well individually, finishing eighth in both the 100-yard butterfly (:56.44) and 200-yard butterfly (:2:11.00) and 14th in the 200-yard individual medley (2:08.94).
“Tim (Alarcon) was just flying this weekend,” Luley said. “Although he would have liked to place higher in his events, he swam really well. He was a lot of fun to watch.”
Joining Alarcon in the 200-yard butterfly was Krueger, who swam the event for the first time this season to earn a MAC qualifying time of 2:30.69 and 13th place.
Rounding out the strong performances by the men were Brown and McArdle.
Brown, a sophomore transfer from Ephrata, Pa., swam a solid race in the 50-yard freestyle for 13th place with a time of :22.71, while McArdle pushed through fatigue to place 12th in the 200-yard freestyle (1:52.69).
“This meet was so fast and our men just weren’t as well rest as the other teams,” Luley said. “Rowan was extremely fast, but we are ahead of where we were last year at this time, so I am very pleased. It’s wonderful to see so many of our swimmers have solid performances. It gets me really excited for what's ahead of us.”