Marshall swimming and diving splits third meet of the season

Scott Bolger, Reporter

Inside Marshall University’s Fitch Natatorium Saturday, the Thundering Herd swim team faced one Big East and one Southeastern Conference opponent in Xavier University and Vanderbilt University. Marshall defeated Xavier by a large margin with 212 points to its 82, but fell to Vanderbilt 150-143.

So far this season, Marshall has a 2-2 record in standard meets.

One noticeable segment of a typical swim team missing for the Musketeers and Commodore aquatic squads was the lack of a diving team, which gave Marshall a bit of a bolstering on the score cards.

“We had a little bit of an advantage,” said Marshall’s head swimming coach Bill Tramel. They (Xavier and Vanderbilt) don’t sponsor diving, so we scored 32 points today to their zero. That’s what gets it close, but you know what, they don’t have diving, they don’t dive. We do. We support diving, we’ll take the points.”

Showing the biggest improvement in the one-meter diving portions of the tournament was sophomore Herd member Rachel Sleichter, who improved her personal best of 163.00 to 183.00.

Once again, freshman Chloe Jones led the way for the diving program, posting a 220.57 in the one meter dive and a 198.22 in the three meter.

In the near future, Marshall diving will devise more superior plans when it comes to the improvement of its far distance from the board.

“Overall, I’m pretty happy with how everyone did today,” said head diving coach Andrew Helmich. “Pretty much everyone in diving did well, and showed some improvement. Today was a little more hit or miss on a couple dives, but as long as they keep improving, we’ll be good. The most hit and miss thing today was the distance from the board. Some were still a little bit scared to get up and over it during a dive like a reverse, which I can understand because when you’re looking back at the board, it can be intimidating. Most of them did it, but you have to make sure you do it on every single dive.”

Marshall swimming started the competition off with a bang, taking second in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:48.59. The relay team was composed of Carin Ingram, Alex Black, Gloriya Mavrova and Lauren Hurd.

Individually, Marshall’s points primarily came from their senior 1,000-meter record holder Kaley Gregory, Hartman and Mavrova.

Mavrova championed two events Saturday: the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle. In the 50, she ousted the competition with a 24.38 and in the 100, she recorded a 53.02. Mavrova’s most captivating race was her 100-meter, as she overtook two Xavier swimmers in the second stretch and sustained a two-plus yard lead over every other non- Marshall competitor. Senior Herd member Lauren Hurd was right on her coattails and finished second with a time of 24:38.

Gregory, Marshall’s 1,000-meter savant, missed her record by nearly 15 seconds, but a 10:23.27 was enough to top Saturday’s distance totem pole. After being neck and neck with Vanderbilt’s Brenda Cha in the 12th stretch of the first heat, Gregory increased her lead by three-yard increments, having an eight-yard lead over Cha in the 25th stretch. In the 29th, she lapped Cha, who took third place in the meet. Teel Hartman raced in the second heat and finished second in the meet with a time of 10:29.14.

The Commodores of Vanderbilt enjoyed 10 first place finishes in all 16 events, and now have a six year stranglehold over the Thundering Herd. Despite the continuing defeats to one of the SEC’s best swimming programs, Tramel was appreciative of his team’s effort and tenacity.

“The meet was great,” Tramel said. “We certainly bounced back from our meet last week. Halfway through the meet, we had a little hiccup, stumbled and went to sleep. Today, they kept their foot on the gas the whole time and did a fantastic job across the board for our whole team. We had four lifetime best’s today and we’re going to rewrite our depth chart today, so we certainly did a fantastic job.”

Marshall has six meets along with one invitational left before the Conference USA tournament, and will travel to Dayton, Ohio, next week to take on Wright State and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. With a lengthy schedule ahead of them, the development of fundamentals will be a key component in the coaching process for the remainder of the season.

“What we’re trying to do right now is teach fundamentals,” Tramel said. “I should really say refine our fundamentals, technique and mechanics. Swimming is not just dive in and move your arms as fast as you can and kick as fast as you can. You have to find the most hydrodynamic way to get through the water. Turns, starts all of that plays a factor. The athletes that can find a way to cut through the water more easily will have the most success, so what we’re trying to do is technically get better with each event.”

Scott Bolger can be contacted at [email protected] edu.