Swimming teams forge ahead: Two go to Nationals

By: Andrew Utz ~Staff Writer~

Entering their holiday hiatus, the Xavier men’s swimming team surged ahead while the women’s team struggled through a rough invitational.

On the weekend of Nov. 6, both teams traveled to Denison University to face off in a dual meet. The men snagged 13 first-place finishes to top the hosts, while the women only placed first in four events, falling to the Big Red.

Junior Rodrigo Suriano and freshman Nathan Runyon tied for the top spot in the 100 meter backstroke, hitting the wall in 52.77 seconds.

Junior Eric Biernat claimed first place in the 200 meter butterfly, while Senior Luke Johanns won the 50 meter freestyle in 21.02. Suriano also was first in the 100 meter freestyle event, doubling up for the day.

In the 200 meter breaststroke, Xavier held the top two spots, with senior Rob Van Kirk and Junior Eric Futscher taking first and second, respectively.

Biernat and Johanns were joined by freshman Michael Pettinichi and junior Tony Miller to win the 200 meter medley relay in 1:35.23. Johanns and Suriano added to their winning ways alongside junior Matt Nephew and freshman Enrique Hernandez in the 400 meter freestyle relay.

On the women’s side, sophomore Paxtyn Drew won the 100 meter backstroke for the Musketeers.

Freshman Caroline Gaertner also claimed the top spot in the 200 meter backstroke. Xavier swept the 500 meter freestyle event with freshman Katie Kerr taking first, followed by senior Haley Dresner and freshman Ienna Wilkes. Freshman Annie Cummins rounded out the first place finishes in the 100 meter fly.

Both teams went on to place high in the Cleveland State University Magnus Cup series during Nov. 20-22. The women’s team took third overall, while the men took second behind the hosts.

Opening the tournament, Drew, Gaertner, junior Ashley Whiteley and senior Claire Brolsma placed fourth in the 200 free relay, knocking over the school record with a time of 1:33.78.

Kerr managed to double up on breaking school records in the 500 free, putting up a new time in her qualifying rounds only to replace it in the final heat, with 4:55.17 propelling her into first place. The men did not take any first place finishes in any event.

Over the first weekend of December, Johanns and Rob Van Kirk went to compete in the AT&T Winter Nationals.

Johanns competed in the 50 meter freestyle and the 100 meter freestyle. He placed 84th overall in the 50 meter freestyle, while just breaking into the top 100 in the nation for the 100 free. Van Kirk competed in the 200 meter breaststroke and placed 54th overall.