By Maxime Devillaz
On Sunday, Feb. 21, the swimming team won the three-day Metropolitan Conference Championship at the Rutgers University Aquatic Center in Piscataway, N.J.
“We performed so well because we train so hard. There’s no way around it,” said Seren Jones, senior team captain for the pioneers. She credits the team of 13 for having trained harder than ever to be able to defend the Conference title for the fourth consecutive year.
The Pioneers kicked o with a big splash already in heat one. Seniors Joyce Kwok, Jones, and Meghan Brazier teamed up with sophomore Laura Bendfeldt to record a school-best in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Two seconds ahead of the runners-up, the team clocked in at 1:32:03.
“We earned the A cut time, which means we automatically qualified for NCAAs,” Jones said. “We’re currently number one in the nation.”
With four out of five wins on the first day, the chances of improving were slim. But Kwok did her part to spice up the numbers even more with another school record, timed at an NCAA “A” cut of 53:32 in the 100-yard butterfly event.
Others performed atop, as well. Freshman Karis Fuller dictated the 400-yard individual medley, and freshman Caitlin Johnstone swam home gold in the 100-yard breast event.
As the final day came to a close, the Pioneers had collected 1,116 points. Kwok had, again, spurted away in her category, the 200- yard butterfly event. And Johnstone recorded her second breaststroke heat, the 200-yard stanza, with a personal best.
The Pioneers, lead by head coach Michael Travers, now prepare for the National Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., which will be held on March 9-12.
Jones, who believes Nationals will be a greater challenge, hopes to spur her fellow teammates to enjoy themselves. “Despite being number one in the relay we’re still underdogs in a sense because we’re not a big, renowned swim team,” she said. “We have to step up against the big dogs now and show them how far we’ve come, and that we deserve to be successful.”