By Jake Loel
The University of Dallas swim team had its first meet of the season last Saturday, when the swimmers participated in the Dallas Baptist Patriot Invitational. On the women’s side, nothing could stop the Crusaders from obliterating the competition. In the first event, the 200-meter medley relay, the Crusader ‘A’ relay team took an early lead with junior Olivia Close swimming backstroke, but fell to fourth by the end of the race. The Crusader ‘B’ relay team, made up entirely of freshmen, was last after the first leg. But thanks to the impressive freestyle leg from freshman standout Eva McLaurin, the squad caught six of the seven competing relays and took second to the Texas State University ‘A’ relay team. Other impressive events included freshman Emily Miller’s 100-meter breaststroke race, which she finished in a time of 1:18.73.
Although the UD swim team participates in a club league and is not part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association or the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), McLaurin’s time would have placed her 16th in the SCAC championships last year. In the women’s 50-meter breaststroke, the Crusaders went 1-2 with Miller, winning the first heat in a time of 35.66 and sophomore Sydney McCloskey taking the second heat, with a time of 35.20. The Crusaders only had nine women at the meet, and they barely had a chance to catch their breath in between events. Yet the women still managed to take second in the 200-meter freestyle relay.
On the men’s side, senior Patrick Fanizza competed in his first meet ever, muscling his way to a 34.74 50-meter freestyle. Team captain Jake Loel also competed in the event, beating his time from his club swimming days with a time of 23.87. In the 100-meter butterfly, the most difficult event UD participated in at the invitational, sophomore John McDonald swam to a solid 1:08.44, while Loel took first with a time of 1:00.52. This time also would have placed him in the top 16 at last year’s SCAC championships.
The weekend’s performances spoke to the dedication of the swim club. This is a team that has been getting up for 5:30 a.m. workouts and paying out of pocket for pool time, while most of the teams they compete against have indoor home pools and professional coaches. UD swimmers have been making do with what they have, and they have been doing so most impressively.