Wabash Scores in 22 Possible Swims in Friday Competition
Howard W. Hewitt - Canton, Ohio - With a huge freshman and sophomore class, Wabash swim coach Peter Casares knows there is a learning curve. His team passed one test, but will have to continue to show improvement to make up distance on Kenyon and Denison in future NCAC meets.
The Little Giants entered the day with 22 scheduled swims where they could score points in the night's finals. Remarkably, that's just what happened when the second night of finals concluded.
"The highlight of the day was having 22 possible swims scoring this morning scoring and having all 22 come back tonight, that’s the first time that’s happened since I’ve been here," Casares said."What we need to do is to do a better job at night and find a way to improve."
Wabash had some great evening swims but many of the swimmers were not able to substantially improve their times from the preliminaries. But there was still plenty of positive performances.
"We did have some spectacular swims from Adam Petro and Tony Caldwell, both relays did great, and Rob Fenoglio’s diving was wonderful. Casares said. "Our depth is one of our keys and we can get better at improving at night."
The 200 medley relay team opened the night's competition with a second-place finish and 1;34.71 swim that knocked five seconds off their morning performance. The time puts the relay in possible position for a trip to Nationals. They made the "B" cut as possible alternates.
It was also a good day for senior Tony Caldwell whose 100 backstroke swim earned him a "B" cut also with a fourth place swim.
Brent Graham and Elijah Sanders scored in the top 12 of the 400 individual medley. Adam Petro swam to a fifth place finish in the butterfly, just missing the national cut time. Five Little Giants scored in the 200 free paced by Jordon Blackwell's seventh in the A final.
Rob Fenoglio claimed a sixth in the three-meter diving and will return to the board Saturday in the 1 meter competition.
So the positive results become a building block. Casares acknowledges it's one thing to qualify in 22 races in the morning preliminaries, but quite different to come back at night and substantially drop times.
"There is a huge learning curve," the coach said. "There’s no faster meet in the country and its extremely difficult to swim against talent that will be placing in the Division III championships. When you have a young team competing against this type of talent you learn about a whole new level of swimming and it takes some time to adjust to that."
A note about photos: I'll post some Friday night photos up early on Saturday. A very small technical glitch. Also tomorrow, will try to get a posting up about the Wabash staff people who've been here helping run the meet. Each NCAC school takes a turn hosting at McKinley High School. The high school is less than a mile from Canton's best known attraction, the Pro Football Hall of fame.