Different strokes: Xavier swims into another year

By: Isabel Smith ~Staff Writer~

Photo courtesy of xavier.edu | Xavier swimming is coming off of back-to-back Big East championships.

The Xavier swim team began its spring schedule on Jan. 8 following a hiatus at the conclusion of the fall season. Both teams last competed at the Cleveland State University Magnus Cup in November. The women’s squad finished third of 10 teams, while the men’s team took second of six teams.

Two Musketeers, seniors Rob Van Kirk and Luke Johanns, represented the men’s team at the AT&T Winter Nationals. The Musketeers returned to action in a three-team meet against host IUPUI and Ball State. The women’s team defeated both of their competitors, while the men’s team came in second behind the IUPUI Jaguars.

Sophomore Paxtyn Drew, freshman Becca Titterton, freshman Caroline Gaertner and senior Claire Brolsma earned a second place finish in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:47.81. The squad carried the momentum into the individual events, as Xavier swimmers took the top three spots in the 1000 free. Junior Emily Wagner had the best time with 10:35:55, junior Mackenna Rife was second with 10:42.21 and freshman Jenna Wilkes rounded out the Musketeers at third with 10:46.61. Freshman Katie Kerr won the 200 free in 1:54.33 and junior Taylor Jach followed in second place with 1:58.11.

The women’s team also found top-three finishes in the 200 fly with freshman Maggie Kauffeld earning second with 2:09.29 and freshman Annie Cummins taking third place with 2:09.29.

The men started the meet with a second place finish in the 200 medley relay. Junior Erik Biernat, freshman Michael Pettinichi and seniors Knox Hitt and Johanns combined for a 1:34.92 finish. Xavier began the individual events with junior Nick Strader’s second-place finish in the 1000 free with 9:57.50, junior Matt Nephew’s third-place finish in the 100 back with 54.13 and Johanns’ third place spot in the 50 free with 21.24.

The Musketeers kept up a solid performance with freshman Chase Baldwin’s first-place spot in the 200 back in 1:55.55. Junior Rodrigo Suriano earned second with 1:56.94 and junior Arthur Smith took fourth with 1:58.81.

For her performance in the meet Paxtyn Drew was named Big East Swimmer of the Week by TeamUnify and CollegeSwimming.com. Both squads will be back in action in the upcoming week. The Musketeer women travel to Duquesne on Jan. 22 to face off against the host team and Ohio. Both men and women will head to the Butler Invite on Jan. 24 to face off against Bellarmine, St. Louis, Youngstown State and Butler.