WHITTIER, Calif. – The 2015 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Swimming & Diving Championships hosted by Cal Lutheran at Whittier College came to a close in similar fashion on Sunday, Feb. 22 as it had the last several years. With the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps teams taking the team championship on both sides.
The Athenas won top team honors for the 13th consecutive year and 17th time overall, while the Stags clinched their eighth-straight title and 35th time in program history. CMS' senior class capped off an unprecedented four-year run on Sunday, winning their eighth SCIAC championship (4 men/4 women). The Class of 2015 for CMS went 62-0 in SCIAC dual-meets and won the conference championship each year, something that no other SCIAC swim & dive program has ever done for both the women and men during the same four-year period.
Behind CMS (1153) on the women's side was Pomona-Pitzer (1085), Redlands (709), Whittier (396), Occidental (391), La Verne (370), Chapman (315), Cal Lutheran (151) and Caltech (89).
The CMS (1148.5) men's team was followed by Pomona-Pitzer (824), Redlands (575), Cal Lutheran (530), Occidental (456), Whittier (389.5), La Verne (298), Chapman (238) and Caltech (229).
CMS head coach Charlie Griffiths was named SCIAC Men's Coach of the Year for 2014-15 at the conclusion of the meet.
Prior to the swimming events earlier in the afternoon, the men's 1-meter diving competition came to a close in perfect fashion for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps senior James Stevick. The three-time conference champion in the event wrapped up his SCIAC career and posted an overall score of 617.75, shattering his previous record of 562.70 set last season. The senior topped off his day with five perfect 10s from the judges on his final dive of the meet, an inward one and a half somersaults in the pike position (2.4 degree of difficulty). Read more about the diving finals here.
The longest races of the meet started the finals session, with the women's 1650-yard freestyle. Second place went to CMS senior Molly Loftus (17:25.21) and also earning her first All-SCIAC recognition in the event was CMS freshman Lauren Rosenberger (17:33.71). The CMS duo finished with NCAA 'B' cut times, behind Pomona-Pitzer freshman Kelsey Thomas.
In a tight 1650 on the men's side, CMS senior Alex Mendoza finished in second in 15:55.60, behind Cal Lutheran's freshman Jonah Hobbs. CMS freshman Brace Young hit the wall third in 16:14.58. The three swimmers all swam NCAA 'B' cut times, in addition to the fourth place finisher.
In the women's 200-yard backstroke, sophomore Natalie Green finished in second for CMS with a time of 2:06.11 to earn All-SCIAC honors. Matthew Williams locked up the title in the 200 back for the Stags in 1:47.45, a 'B' cut time.
In the women's 100-yard freestyle, CMS senior LillyBelle Deer swam a time of 53.33 to finish in second. The third spot on the podium will be shared between Pomona-Pitzer freshman Alex Seidel and CMS sophomore Courtney Chan, as they hit the wall simultaneously in 53.36. The Stags' Alex Poltash (45.57) finished in second in the event for the men with a 'B' cut time in the 100 free, which followed the women's 100 free.
One day after winning the 100-yard breaststroke, CMS sophomore Emily McKinnon earned a return trip to the top of the podium with a 200-yard breaststroke winning time of 2:19.78. Because of a scoreboard malfunction, the judges conferred to determine the final two All-SCIAC recipients. Second place went to Kelly Ngo, joining her teammate, with an official time of 2:24.96.
In the women's 200-yard butterfly, Stephanie Doi returned to the podium for the Athenas, after a second place 100 fly finish on Day 3, as she swam a 2:09.70 in the longer event.
The men's 200-yard butterfly saw a Meet record set by Redlands' Jeff Depew. CMS then took the second and third spots with Marc Blumberg winning another All-SCIAC recognition in 1:50.69 and Matthew Valentine doing the same after clocking a 1:51.63. Overall, six men hit NCAA 'B' cuts in the race.
The Athenas claimed the final relay of the week in the 400-yard freestyle relay, as the team of Kayla Flaten, Chan, Deer, and Ngo clinched the title with a time of 3:30.30, a 'B' cut time.
With teams lining the pool deck and the rain falling down, the final event of the night, the men's 400 free relay, went to the Stags in a near-meet record time of 3:01.81 swam by Williams, Joseph Hinton, Patrick Shultz and Poltash.
In the next week or so, student-athletes will be informed of official NCAA qualifying times for the Division III National Championships in Shenandoah, Texas from March 18-21, 2015. Prior to that, NCAA Diving Prelims take place on Feb. 27-28.
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