Jan. 27, Tampa, Fla. – Saint Leo University Swimming teams concluded their last competition before the Sunshine State Conference Championships that will take place in Orlando, Fla. on Feb. 16. While their opponent, the University of Tampa Spartans, managed to defeat the Lions on the men’s side, they were not able to do it on the women’s side.
During the meet, Saint Leo Men’s Swimming won 10 out of 14 individual events. Nevertheless, the Lions lost the meet overall, as their scored 128-134 against Tampa. Despite the loss, the meet was fulfilled with significant performances as two Lions managed to hit the “B” qualifying standard for the NCAA National Championships.
Lucas Dengler-Harles, sophomore, won two events in which he participated. Not only did he win the 100 Freestyle with a time of 46.00 seconds, but also he won 1000 Freestyle with a time of 9:20.06, which is a qualifying standard for Nationals.
Another Lion who managed to win two events that day was a Junior, Jan Urbaniak, who came in first in the 500 Freestyle with a time of 4:36.29. The time is a second NCAA National Championships qualifying standard. Urbaniak’s second victory of the day was in 200 Butterfly where he won the even with a time of 1:56.40.
Nevertheless, there were three more Lions each of which won two individual events, including Juniors Hunter Bains and Milosz Mikicin, as well as a Freshman Henrik Dahrendorff.
On the women’s side, the Lions managed to defeat Tampa with a score of 140 while their opponent scored 122 points. The women won 11 out of 14 individual events, and similarly to the men, two Lions hit the “B” qualifying standard for the NCAA National Championships.
Nicole Weber, senior, was one of the most successful Lions during the meet. Not only did she win three events, but also she managed to achieve the qualifying mark for Nationals in 200 Breaststroke as she came in first with a time of 2:17.82.
“My main goal at the beginning of the season was to make it to nationals in my individual race and also with the relay,” sad Weber.
As “B” standard does not guarantee a spot on the list of competitors that are allowed to take part in the National Championships, it is still not clear whether the swimmers will participate in the competition.
“It’s not 100% sure that I achieved that goal yet,” added Weber.
Weber also won 100 Breaststroke in a time of 1:05.65, and the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 2:09.22.
The last of the qualifying standards was captured by Junior Natalia Garriock, who hit the time of 2:17.82 in the 100 Free while winning the event. However, it was not the last victory for Garriock, as she managed to win the 200 Free with a time of 1:54.61.
Charlie Langner, freshman, and Maftuna Tuhtasinoa, sophomore, each won two individual events, as well. With the addition of the Lions’ victories in both of the relays that were scheduled that day, Saint Leo defeated Tampa.
The meet was the Lions’ last competition before heading to Orlando, Fla. to compete with the best teams in the Sunshine State Conference during Sunshine State Conference Championships.
As the conference is one of the most competitive in the country, the Lions might have a difficult task ahead of them. Last year, both the Men and Women teams finished the competition in fifth place. The only athlete who managed to win the championships individually was Daniel Bis, a graduate, who later in the season finished fifth during the NCAA National Championships.
The championships will also be the Lions’ last chance to hit qualifying standards for the national championships. Not only is it important for the team, but also individual swimmers would like to conclude their season with the meet.
“After qualifying for nationals four times as an individual I also want to enjoy my last American swim meet at NCAA’s,” said Weber.
As the season progresses, stay tuned to the Lions’ Pride Newspaper to receive more information about the Saint Leo Swimming Teams.