Stags and Athenas reign over Sixth Street

Ben Culberson (Photo by John Valenzuela)
Ben Culberson (Photo by John Valenzuela)

CLAREMONT, Calif. – In the highly anticipated matchup, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's and women's swim and dive teams earned the regular season victory over Pomona-Pitzer on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The Stags held just a 12 point lead at the second break but then extended their lead to 38 points, ultimately winning 167-129. The Athenas came away with a huge 182-117 win, avenging last season's dual meet loss.

With the stands full of fans from both sides, the Stags and Athenas stepped up to the challenge and put on a show. During the day, 10 pool records were broken, eight by CMS, two by the Sagehens.

The first diving portion earned CMS some much-needed points to start off the meet. Junior Maia Presti (SC) led the charge with a win on the 1-meter board as Carli Lessard (HMC) and Mary Lynn Clark (SC) followed up for an Athena sweep. Then, freshman Kendall Hollimon (CMC) broke the first record of the day with a 372.85 on the 3-meter board, beating his own record set in November.

The swimming started with the Sagehens not only winning, but setting pool records in the 200-yard medley relays. But CMS answered right back with two big wins in the 1000-yard freestyle. Junior Elizabeth Carrade (CMC) put together a commanding performance and posted a personal best time of 10:41.40. Freshman Ben Culberson (CMC) followed that up with his own PR and broke into the program's top-10 list with 9:45.96.

CMS took another hit as Pomona-Pitzer swept with women's 200-yard freestyle but then bounced back to win four events in a row. In the men's 200 free, sophomore Jackson Crewe (HMC) touched at 1:43.57 for first place. Freshman Jocelyn Crawford (CMC) swam a season-best and reset her own pool record in the 100 yard backstroke at 57.69.

Senior Matthew Williams (CMC) defended his conference and national championship in the 100 back by closing out the final 50 yards 0.39 seconds faster than his competition. Later in the meet, Williams set a pool record in the 200-yard backstroke (1:50.57) against the same PP swimmer, winning it by almost four seconds.

Freshman Claire Bacon-Brenes (SC) delivered a stellar swim in the women's 100-yard breaststroke to break a seven year old pool record set by Annie Perizzolo. Her 1:05.21 was also a personal best as she holds the No. 8 spot on the top-10 list. Similar to Williams, Bacon-Brenes returned to the pool for her second win in the same stroke. Her performance in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:23.16) catapulted her into the program's top-10 list to be No. 5 all-time.

Sophomore Tyler Welty (CMC) capped off the four-race run for CMS with a narrow win in the men's 100 breast (58.33). Just 0.32 seconds separated the top three swimmers as Welty and Aaron Lutzker (HMC) went one-two.

Freshman Henry Limm (HMC) won the 200-yard butterfly (1:52.93) and broke into the top-10 at No. 8. Ten events later, Limm touched first again, this time in the 200 breast (2:03.83) to move up on the top-10 list and set a new pool record.

When diving returned in the middle of the meet, Lessard won the 3M competition (295.80), edging out PP by less than 30 points. Hollimon recorded his second win on the day with a 313.85 on the lower springboard.

After the second set of diving, freshman Ivy Chen (HMC) had two wins in the 200 back (2:07.16) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:11.08). The swim in the 200 back jumped her into the top-10 list as well and was good for No. 7 all-time. Senior Stephanie Doi (CMC) earned a big win in the 100 fly (57.56) after trailing at the 50-yard mark by 0.06 seconds.

Two more Stags added wins down the stretch as Lutzker took first in the men's 200 IM (1:54.84) and then Culberson delivered a jaw-dropping swim in the 500-yard freestyle. Culberson bested a pool record last set by Alex Mendoza in 2015 by more than two seconds at 4:38.96.

Per usual, the meet crescendoed to the freestyle relays at the end, both setting pool records. The Athenas won the 400-yard freestyle relay first at 3:32.77. The team was captained by Doi who was joined by Crawford, senior Kelly Ngo (CMC) and sophomore Emma Stacy (SC). The Stags edged out Pomona-Pitzer by just over a second for the 3:07.59 victory in the men's 400 free relay. Williams led off and was followed by Dave Makhervaks (HMC), Crewe and then anchored by senior Graham Spurzem (CMC).

Next up for CMS is the SCIAC Championships Feb. 15-18 in Commerce, Calif. The Stags and Athenas will undoubtedly go head-to-head against the Sagehens once more this year to battle for the conference titles.


By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director

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