CMS Swimming and Diving Hosts Pomona-Pitzer in Two-Day Meet Friday and Saturday

CMS Swimming and Diving Hosts Pomona-Pitzer in Two-Day Meet Friday and Saturday

CLAREMONT, Calif. - This weekend will feature perhaps the only swim meet in the country where some of the events are longer than the commute.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will host Pomona-Pitzer in a two-day meet at Axelrood Pool, with the first half taking place on Friday beginning at 1:30 p.m. (diving at 1:30 p.m., followed by swimming at 3 p.m.) and the second half starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday (diving at 10:30 a.m. followed by swimming at 12 noon). The first 100 CMS students in attendance on Friday will also get a raffle ticket for a chance to win one of five Amazon gift cards. 

The individual swimming events will include the 1650 (mile) on Saturday. The visiting 1650 competitors from Pomona-Pitzer will travel significantly further in the race than the quarter-mile it takes to travel down Sixth Street from one Claremont Consortium pool to the other.  

Naturally, being so close to your athletic rivals makes everybody that much more excited to compete. 

"There's nothing like it," said senior Stag swimmer Jackson Crewe. "We live on five campuses and split up into two teams and we get to have such a close rivalry with people we attend classes with. There's nothing like it in the country as far as I know. A lot of teams are at invitationals right now, and I think our meet is a lot more exciting."

"We view it as a championship-type atmosphere," said senior distance swimmer Torrey Hart, who will be one of the Athenas swimming in the aforementioned 1650. "We always talk about how this is one of the most exciting, but overlooked rivalries in the nation. We're so close; there are no other rivalries that are physically this proximate, so we're super excited to compete."

In addition to being extremely close geographically, the teams are also extremely close competitively. CMS comes into the weekend ranked No. 12 in the nation in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll in both men and women. Pomona-Pitzer, meanwhile, is ranked 10th in the men's poll and 14th in the women's poll. A year ago, across the street at Haldeman Pool, the Stags won a narrow 191-161 decision while the Pomona-Pitzer women won by an equally narrow 192-161. 

Spreading the annual Sixth Street meet into a two-day event allows for more relays and a higher level of competition, due to the day of rest at the midway point. Both teams will put on their fastest racing suits and treat the dual the same as a championship event in February, making this weekend almost a midterm evaluation to see how much progress they've made over the first two months of the season. 

In addition to trying to win their races, swimmers on both teams will be trying to achieve NCAA cuts and put themselves in an early position to make the trip to the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis in March. After the meet it'll be over a month before the Stags and Athenas race again, so there's no reason to hold anything back this weekend. 

The combination of the fast racing suits and the competitive environment means that this could be a weekend where the Axelrood Pool record book gets rewritten. Since the SCIAC Championships are held at a neutral site every year, this is one of the few times where CMS is hosting a swim meet where the competitors are truly pushing for their fastest possible times.

"One of the things that we like to do is get fast at least twice a year," said senior Athena Riley Hoffman. "So it's nice to have a meet like this in December where we're all really excited to go fast, instead of an invite where we would normally go. It's nice to get our biggest rival in December and get all geared up ... and get to suit up as well."

Some swimmers (and divers, in the case of CMS junior All-American Kendall Hollimon) on both teams are studying abroad, and the lineups won't necessarily look the same when SCIAC Championships roll around in February. But a meet like this is still the closest thing to replicating a championship this early in the season, and will serve as an excellent measuring stick.

"It's a check point," said Crewe. "It's not the end of our season, it's not a make or break point. But we get to put some fast suits on and see where we're at."