February 12, 2007
Casares Reflects on NCAC, Looks Ahead
Howard W. Hewitt - This will be the final entry in this blog on the Wabash swimmers' 2007 NCAC swim championships.
The Little Giants really hit some remarkable numbers en route to their third-place finish behind Kenyon and Denison.
Six swimmers turned in times which qualify them for the "B" cut of the National Finals. The "B" cut simply means they are alternates and may or may not be invited to the big meet.
Those swimmers are:
Kyle Weaver - 200 medley relay;
Blaine Cooper-Surma - 200 medley relay;
Jordon Blackwell - 400 medley relay;
Adam Petro - 400 medley relay/200 fly;
Robert Dent - 200 medley relay/400 medley relay;
and Tony Caldwell - 200 medley relay/400 medley relay/100 back.
"We had some very good performances, but struggled as a team finding a rhythm," Coach Peter Casares said today. "In fact, I don't think we ever found that rhythm, that 'magic.' The team tried its hardest to though and that was great to watch."
But the results remained rather staggeringly positive. The Little Giants recorded 68 performances that were their fastest of the year. They had more than 35 lifetime bests. They turned in five national qualifying event performances, three all-conference relays, and one school record.
"That's pretty darn good especially seeing we didn't 'find our rhythm,' " Casares said. "I'm proud to see that the team's hard work did pay off."
Casares has written about the meet in his own blog, Lanelines, throughout the weekend. He also put up some final thoughts today.
I'm posting two more photo albums here. The first album is all new material from the opening of the Saturday night finals. It features photos from a couple different swim programs but gives a flavor of the meet excitement.
The second album is a collection of my favorite photos from the three-day event. Some have appeared on the website before and some have not.
Now the Little Giants will prepare for a meet this weekend at Kenyon where they can potentially lower their times and solidfy their chances to compete in the National meet. "I truly believe we can swim even faster this weekend," the coach said. "Combing one more week of rest with the fastest pool in the country is exactly what we need."
In photo above: Casares gives senior swimmer Kyle Weaver a hug during the senior walk at the start of Saturday's finals. Asst. Coach Kyle Dunaway hugs Tony Caldwell behind them.
February 10, 2007
Six National Qualifiers Lead Wabash's 3rd Place Finish
Howard W. Hewitt - Canton, Ohio - It could have been the last relay and should have been the first, but Wabash College Little Giant swimmers scored 998 points en route to a third-place finish in the North Atlantic Coast Conference Swimming and Diving Championships here Saturday night.
Kenyon College, which has won the past 27 straight national titles, held off a huge challenge from Denison in both the mens' and womens' competition. For detailed times and results click here.
One of Coach Peter Casares' championship goals was to break the 1,000-point barrier. On the first night of competition in the first event, the Wabash 200 free relay team swam to a third-place finish worth 54 points but was later disqualified for a false start. Saturday night's last event was the 400 free relay but the Little Giants were just touched out at the end.
But Coach Peter Casares called the 998 the 'perfect score.' It provides great incentive for his heralded freshmen and sophomore classes to work harder now that they understand the competition. And there were a number of "B" qualifying cuts for the National Championships next month.
The Little Giants opened Saturday's finals with three swimmers in the final eight of the 200 backstroke. Adam Petro finished fifth with Tony Caldwell claiming sixth and Pat Laughlin scoring in eighth. Peter Hewitt had a 16th place finish.
Jordon Blackwell, Phillip Towne, Blaine Cooper-Surma, Kyle Weaver, and Nick Rockefeller all scored in the 100 Free. Brent Graham, Robert Dent, and Paul Wilson were 14-16 in the 200 breaststroke.
Adam Petro had a fifth place swim in the 200 butterfly. Robert Fozkos had one of the night's strongest swims, claiming 11th place with a 1:59.26 - which was nearly four seconds off his morning qualifying time.
Rob Fenoglio helped the team move up by climbing from 8th place to 6th in the Saturday night finals of the 1-meter diving.
The last relay was touched out at the wall but managed a fourth behind Fozkos, Blackwell, Cooper-Surma, and Craig Vetor.
Three Wabash swimmers placed in the top 12 of the 1,650 freestyle. Elijah Sanders swam a 16:40 for seventh place. Vetor finished 9th and Paul Wilson 10th.
Casares has been writing about the meet on his own blog, Lanelines, for the past three days. Also look for more photos and wrap-up information on the Wabash website Monday.
In photos: Above right, Pete Hewitt in the backstroke. On homepage: Fozkos has a strong butterfly effort.
Final Night of Competition Underway at Canton
Howard W. Hewitt - The finals of the NCAC Swimming and Diving Championships are underway in Canton. The Wooster Scottish pipers led the Scots swim team into the natatorium to start the fanfare.
The swim teams went about their warmup cheers, a big crowd settled in to their seats, but leave it to a Wabash man to really wow them. Howard Bailey, Little Giant diving coach, sang the national anthem for the sixth time of his Wabash career - four when he was a student diver.
Bailey got, perhaps, the loudest ovation of the three-day meet.
Depending on how tonight's events play out, I'll try to update at mid-evening. If not, a full wrap up will appear much later tonight.
Wabash College Staff Keeps Meet Running Along
Howard W. Hewitt - Canton, Ohio - I'm back at the motel while guys work the afternoon session of the final day of the NCAC Swimming and Diving Championships. This afternoon consists of the men's 1-meter and women's 3-meter diving, along with the mile swims. A long afternoon!
There will be plenty of fun highlights tonight, but no big event comes off without plenty of help. Each year one of the nine NCAC schools takes a turn hosting the swim event and this was Wabash's year.
Sports Information Director Brent Harris has worked the meet the last two years and has acted as meet director this week. It's no small accomplishment to keep track of all the details, scoring and timing, and keeping everyone happy... when you have swimmers, swim coaches, and parents to keep happy, too. He's really hustled and put in some long hours since our arrival here Wednesday evening.
Everyone working is a volunteer. With the exception of a few meals and a T-shirt, it's Wabash people organizing, planning, and solving problems much as they usually do. And, it is a bit of an eclectic group!
We have the Schroeder Career Center Director Scott Crawford at poolside with a stop watch. In Scott's words, not mine, he is "the back up to the back up" on manual timing each event. He got to sit through the multiple heats of the mile swim this afternoon. He did say this morning that he really liked his job — the one back at Wabash!
At almost any Wabash sporting event you'll run into our Athletic Trainer Mark Colston and this one is no different. He is the trainer for the meet. He's iced quite a few tender shoulders and a few knees. He has handed out pain reliever for the aches and pains — even for a photographer with a headache.
Jeff Oleck, assistant soccer coach, and Forrest Campbell '08 have spent a good amount of their time running back and forth from official scoring to the meet headquarters on the deck off the diving well. It's a thankless job of lots of sitting then lots of hustling but both have performed tasks without much complaint.
Wabash's Athletic Director Vern Mummert is the host A.D. and has mingled and made sure everyone had the things they needed to perform their tasks. Alison Kothe, a senior major gifts officer, was on business in the area and spent Thursday and Friday nights helping time.
I've spent most of my time taking pictures for this blog but also shot photos for the NCAC web site, Allegheny College, and Wittenberg. It's a long drive home Sunday, but one we'll be looking forward to after we wrap up tonight.
Sometime late tonight I'll have a wrap up on site with results. We'll probably have some additional information on Monday as well.
Casares Thrilled With Saturday Morning Performance
Howard W. Hewitt - Canton, Ohio - Calling it "the best ever" Saturday performance, Little Giant Swim Coach Peter Casares was thrilled with his team's morning effort.
"We've trained for Saturdays for a couple of years," Casares said of the necessity to still swim fast after two days of the conference meet. "This morning was our best-ever effort in my years at Wabash."
It got off to a great start with the 200 backstroke. Tony Caldwell, Pat Laughlin, and Adam Petro were in the top eight times. Laughlin clocked in at 1:59.46, Caldwell at 1:57.62, and Petro was fourth fastest of the day at 1:56.03. Petro's time was just off the Wabash school record of 1:55.19 held by Jason Cain. Cain set his 1993 record at the NCAA championships.
Wabash will have five swimmers in the 100 free tonight led by Jordon Blackwell's :47.8, which was good enough for eighth place. Phillip Towne, Kyle Weaver, Blaine Cooper-Surma, and Nick Rockefeller placed in the top 24.
Wabash couldn't get a swimmer into the final eight of the breaststroke but did have three swimmers in the next eight. Brent Graham, Robert Dent, and Paul Wilson made the second group.
Freshman Adam Petro continues to shine at his first-ever NCAC meet. He posted the second fastest time in the 200 butterfly at 1:54.00 - easily reaching the "B" qualifying standard for Nationals and within reach of the 1:52.14 time which would earn him an automatic berth.
Robert Fozkos,has the 12th fastest time in the fly to join Petro in the finals.
The 400 relay might not have been as good as Casares had hoped but it still managed to qualify in the fifth spot. The relay consisted of freshmen Peter Hewitt, Matt Routh, and Nick Rockefeller along with senior Tony Caldwell.
In photos: Top left, Nick Rockefeller takes off for his leg of the 400 free relay. Lower right, assistant coach Kyle Dunaway keeps track of times for the Little Giants. To Dunaway's left is freshman Phillip Towne.
Little Giants Off To Great Saturday Start
Canton, Ohio (10:23 a.m.) - The Little Giants could not have asked for a better start to Saturday's NCAC finals.
In the day's first event, three Wabash swimmers qualified for the finals in the 200 yard backstroke. Tony Caldwell, Adam Petro, and Pat Laughlin all made the finals cut with Petro's effort just fractions of a second off the school record.
Click here to see photos from Friday's action.
Follow live updates on times and events on the Wabash website by clicking here.
Final Day of NCAC Swim Meet Underway
Howard W. Hewitt - Canton, Ohio - The final day of the 2007 North Coast Athletic Conference Championships is underway. The Little Giants will be trying to advance more swimmers to nationals and add to their two-day 571 point total.
We'll be blogging throughout the day so look for frequent updates. I want to get up a little about the Wabash College staff here working the event as hosts and will add that throughout the day. I also left a piece of equipment at the pool last night and was unable to get photos from Friday competition up on the website, but that will happen this morning.
Today's events include the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 butterfly, 200 free relay, 1-meter diving, and the marathon of swim competition - the 1,650 free. Again the Little Giants have a big number of swimmers hoping to qualify this morning for scoring position tonight.
We'll have frequent updates, so check back during the day. For full coverage of events, scroll down through the blog.
On the homepage this morning: Rob Fenoglio in a tight spin during his final Friday night dive. He finished sixth in the 3-meter competition.