The William Jewell College swimming team recently competed in the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Championships in Crawfordsville, Ind. The women’s team finished fourth and the men’s team sixth. Along with performing well as a team, many individuals set personal, school and GLVC records, and placed at Conference.
This year the team had a large number of members making NCAA II ‘B’ cuts, meaning more students had the opportunity to qualify for the NCAA II National Championships.
“This year has been really exciting for the Nationals swimmers,” said Paige Meredith, senior business administration and ACT-In major.
Meredith got first in the 200 fly, setting a GLVC record.
“We are shocked that we could potentially have more than 10 people go to nationals this year! Which is a lot since in previous years we have only had two or three,” said Meredith.
Qualifiers were announced Wednesday, and the program will be sending five individuals and four relay teams to Birmingham, Ala. in early March for the Championships meet. Previous National Championships qualifiers, Meredith and Maddie Allen, junior nursing major, qualified again this year and will be accompanied by some new faces including some first-years. In total, 11 members qualified including Meredith; Allen; Keaton Dir, junior psychology major; Ayleen Burt, first-year; Anthony Aranda, sophomore; Craig Haug, junior; Aaron Stanek, first-year; Corbin Grimes, sophomore; Dylan Walters, sophomore; Shea Marcinski, junior; and Carley Wood, sophomore.
“We are so excited for nationals. Going to this meet changes the way you look at the sport. Swimming is a very dedicated sport and we swim year round to try and qualify for this meet. Once you’re there and see these amazing swimmers, you are almost starstruck,” said Meredith, “I’m so excited to share this experience with more of my teammates because I do think in the future we can have a team at nationals.”
Burt was the first All-GLVC selection at Conference this year and set a school record in the 400 individual medley earning a NCAA II ‘B’ cut time.
“[Conference] was really fun,” said Burt, “We had been building up to that event for a while and when the day finally came, I was not disappointed. It felt so fun to race and cheer on my teammates. There was so much energy. I think the team did an awesome job and I am so proud of all the energy and effort we showed.”
This year, the team has six seniors: Meredith, Chris Stack, Heather Cistola, Lane Bland, Mason Brown and Kyle Ainge. This can be a bittersweet time of year, especially for those who have been swimmers for most of their lives.
“I have been a swimmer for 14 years, so you can imagine all of the emotion running through, not just me, but all of the seniors especially during the final session Saturday night,” said Cistola, “All six of us have put an incredible amount of dedication into making this team the best that we possibly could during our four years on The Hill. Being part of the William Jewell swim program has helped me become a better person on and off the pool deck. I am fortunate for the relationships that I have been able to form and I hope those relationships last long after I graduate. This crazy, but incredible, group of individuals are more than just a team to me, they are my family.”