Swimming dives into Big East Championships

Photo courtesy of goxavier.com | Senior Matthew Dyer was one of 15 Xavier swimmers to participate in their final regular season meet last weekend in Oxford, Ohio. Dyer was a part of the men’s 400-meter medley team that placed second (3:24.48).

The men’s and women’s swimming teams closed out their dual meet schedule last weekend in Oxford, Ohio. The teams now move forward into the Big East Championships.

For the 15 seniors on the team, this was their final regular season contest, and after four years they will have one last opportunity to compete at the Big East Championships beginning on Feb. 20.

Despite both sides falling as a team (women’s 234-56, men’s 239-55), the Musketeers had a total of 15 athletes secure a top-three position on the weekend.

The women’s side was led by 2018 All-Big East swimmer and senior Caroline Gaertner, who placed first in the 100 back with a time of 57.31 and second in the 200 back with a time of 2:07.17.

She also aided the 400-meter medley team in achieving a second-place finish in 3:53.81 alongside freshman Lydia Schaeffer, sophomore Taylor Hogan and junior Emily Conners.

Fellow senior Maggie Kauffeld placed third in the 1000 free with a time of 11:05.59. Conners provided consistency for the Musketeers as she finished higher than fourth place in every event she swam in during the meet.

The men’s team dropped the overall contest to Miami but showed signs of positivity heading into the Big East Championships. Xavier saw solid performances from both upper and underclassmen.

Led by seniors Sam Johanns and Matthew Dyer, the 400-meter medley team placed second with a time of 3:24.48. Junior Brandon Abboud also swam alongside the senior tandem.

Abboud scored in second place in the 100 fly in 50:82 and had the second-best time of all Musketeers in the 200 free, placing fifth with a time of 24.46.

Freshman Cothalee Watko cemented a strong performance in the final meet of the season as he cracked a season-best time in the 500 free, with a 4:16.81 fourth-place finish.

“Miami was an excellent opportunity to put finishing touches on our events and get that last bit of racing experience before conference,” sophomore Nick Mahoney said. “Overall, the meet went very well and Xavier is on its way to being very dangerous at the Big East’s.”

Xavier will have some time off to prepare for the 2019 Big East Championships. The conference meet is scheduled to take place in Long Island, N.Y., at the Nassau County Aquatic Center. The championships will run from Feb. 20-23.

Historically, the Musketeers have competed quite well in their conference championships, dating back to the Atlantic 10. Both the men’s and women’s teams hope to land atop the Big East later this month.

By: Tim Kramer | Staff Writer