Underclassmen Swimmers Open Season with a Splash

This past Saturday, the SLU swim team competed in the CSCAA Open Water Nationals. The meet was in Lawrence, Kan. at Lone Star Lake. The competition takes places annually and the top collegiate men’s and women’s distance swimmers with qualifying times from the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA competition are invited. The race is a 5k; the women finished in fifth place out of twelve teams and the men in sixth out of seven teams. The women placed ahead of conference rivals George Washington and Richmond. Fifty-three women competed; freshman Lindsey Turner finished in 18th place with a time of 1hour, 8 minutes, 35.34 seconds. Sophomore Scott Street landed in 19th place (out of 41) for the men, timed at 1:05:06.45.

This year, 24 recruits were brought into SLU Swimming & Diving. 23 are freshman, one a transfer student from the University of Cincinnati. Two cuts were made from the team, but Coach Halliburton is confident for a successful season. He said the biggest challenge is training the athletes in practice to perform their best at meets. So far, Halliburton said the team is in better shape than they were at this point last year. The expectations for swimming are higher than most collegiate sports; the team has 11 practices a week, amounting to several hours in the pool a day and additional time spent in the workout room.

The new recruits are expected to add considerable talent to the team. Last year, the team had only one diver, now there are four (three women and one man). Halliburton also pointed out a few freshmen to watch this season. For the women, Natalie Daniel, Erica Morris and Katie Schmude. For the men, T. J. Halliburton, Christian L’Italien, Sean O’Connor and Luke Van Gorp.

Some standouts are also returning this season. Senior Mina Glenesk was the top Billiken swimmer last year. She posted SLU records in the 500-yard (4:52.88), 1000-yard (10:19.41), and 1650-yard (16:46.21) freestyle events. Glenesk also set a personal best and the second-fastest time in SLU history in the 200-yard (1:51.44) freestyle.

Senior Ryan McCoy is one of the swim captains. He has consistently been one of the strongest swimmers on the team, securing himself as one of the top swimmers in SLU history. His junior year, he qualified for the Olympic Trials and was named Atlantic 10 Performer of the Week four times throughout the season. He set a SLU record with the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 46.97.

Junior Isaiah Williams is another swimmer to watch: last season, he had SLU’s best time of the year in the 200-yard (1:48.06) butterfly. Williams placed second in the 400-yard IM with a time of 3:58.16 and third on the season list in the 200 IM (1:52.96). The numbers point to a triumphant season for the Billikens, their next meet is the Show-Me Showdown in Columbia, Mo. on Sept. 29.