SEASON REVIEW: LMU Swimming Wins First PCSC Championship in 2008

June 30, 2008

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The 2007-08 swimming season proved to be the best in program history, as LMU finished a perfect 9-0 in dual meets on the year, en route to its first Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference championship.  For her efforts as the Lions' head coach, Bonnie Adair was named PCSC Women's Coach of the Year.

Dual Meet Summaries
- LMU opened the dual-meet season at Seattle University on 10/18 with a 122-83 victory.  The Lions won eight of the 11 events, including both relays as senior Angela Samuels recorded three first-place finishes.

- The Lions traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska to take on the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in back-to-back dual meets on 10/20 and 10/21.  LMU defeated the Nanooks, 127-78, in the first dual meet, winning six of the 11 events.  Junior Rebecca Plume had a great day in the water, taking second place in the 1650 Yard Freestyle event in 18:27.18.  She went on to capture the top spot in the 500 Yard Freestyle with a time of 5:18.71 and served as the second swimmer in LMU's first-place 200 yard freestyle relay team that touched in 1:42.12.  LMU went on to down Alaska 117-87 in the second dual.  Sophomore Megan Sawelson won both the 50 and 100 Yard Freestyle, as the Lions rode their strength in the sprint events throughout the two meets.

- Swam at the Big West Shootout on 11/4.  LMU swimmers topped USD and CSUN, beating USD by a narrow margin of 58 to 53 and CSUN by a count of 61 to 34.  The Lions won the duals against USD and CSUN on the strength of their relays, winning both the opening 400 Medley Relay in 4:05.59 and the 400 Freestyle Relay at the end in 3:41.54.  These victories allowed LMU to make up the 16 diving points lost to USD because LMU does not field a diving squad.

- After finishing 10th of 22 teams at the Speedo Cup, LMU returned to dual-meet play against 2007 PCSC Champion UC San Diego in the home opener on 1/5. The Lions knocked-off perennial powerhouse UCSD, 131-128 in what proved to be the toughest dual-meet competition of the season. Plume led the Lions to the upset with 18 total points on the day, sharing the top spot with Anju Shimura and Jen Sims from UCSD.  Plume finished first in the 200 yard freestyle event with a time of 1:57.65 and took home the top spot in the 500 yard freestyle with a time of 5:15.23 to edge Shannon Simonds at 5:15.85.

- Hosted Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on 1/18 and easily defeated the visiting squad, 176-86.  Plume set what was an LMU record with a time of 10:38.88 in the 1000 freestyle to help guide the Lions to the victory.  Trinity O'Neill, Plume and Alicia Witter each won two events on the day to ensure the win.

- Hosted Cal State Bakersfield on 1/19 and won the meet by a count of 154-104.  The Lions captured first place in eight of the 14 events en route to the victory, led by Samuels and Plume who each contributed 18 individual points (two first-place finishes).

- Downed San Diego, 140-122, at home on 1/26 to complete the undefeated dual-meet season.  On senior day, a day on which the Lions honored their nine seniors, in pursuit of perfection, it was fitting that seniors Samuels and Alex Wike led the Lions to victory with 18 individual points apiece.  Samuels took home first place in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:07.62 and the 100 butterfly in 58.19.  Wike claimed her 18 individual points with back-to-back first place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle events.

PCSC Championship Summary
- Day One: LMU found itself in very good position after the first day at the PCSC Championships, sitting in sixth place overall in the standings, but tops amongst teams that did not field a diving squad (eight of 14 total).  The Lions (120 total points) trailed only Pepperdine (202), University of Northern Colorado (194), UC San Diego (192), UC Santa Cruz (138) and Cal Baptist (132), each of which earned substantial points in the one-meter diving competition.  LMU participated in two of the day's three events, the 200 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay.  LMU performed well in both events, claiming the top-spot in the 200 medley relay for the fourth straight season.

- Day Two: With the diving events in the books, LMU was in prime position to make a bid for its first Conference Title in team history.  The Lions positioned themselves in fourth with two full days of racing still to take place.  LMU performed well in virtually every event on the day, led by junior Rebecca Plume's and senior Alex Wike's Conference Championship-winning times in the 500 freestyle and 50 freestyle, respectively.  Plume's preliminary time of 5:05.53 was a six second drop from her previous best, and just tenths off the school record.  In the finals, she blasted another nine seconds off the time to win the event by over two seconds with a 4:56.59, setting a new LMU record.  LMU, which dominated the sprint freestyle events throughout the dual-meet season, continued that dominance at the Championships.  Wike led the way in the 50 freestyle, winning the race with a personal-best time of 23.89.

- Day Three: The Lions sat just three points out of third place (University of Northern Colorado-828 points), eight points out of second (UC San Diego-833 points) and 32 points out of first (Pepperdine-857 points) at the end of the day.  The nearest competition below LMU was UC Santa Cruz at 557 points.

- Day Four: LMU completed a fantastic four-day PCSC Championship run, culminating in the program's first Conference Title.  The Lions collected 1212 total points over the course of the Championship, defeating their nearest opponent, Pepperdine, by 46 points.  11 Lion swimmers were named to the PCSC All-Conference team, three to the All-Academic team, and head coach Bonnie Adair was named PCSC Women's Coach of the Year after the meet.  Seniors Samuels and Wike, junior Plume, sophomores Alexa Cook, Mallorie Lim, Kristen Lutjen, O'Neill, Sawelson, Melanie Tansuwan and Alicia Witter, and freshman Carolyn Pasque were all named to the prestigious list.  The 11 selections were more than double the previous high of five.  Wike was also named to the PCSC All-Academic team, an honor bestowed to junior and senior swimmers with a 3.5 GPA or better.  Joining Wike on the list were senior Nicole Alvarado and junior Justine Elgas.  After taking the Conference crown in the 500 freestyle earlier at the Championships, Plume finished second on Saturday in the 1650 freestyle.  Her time of 17:16.14 broke the previous LMU record for that event set by Julia Hall last season at 18:01.78. Witter became the third Lion to claim an individual Conference Title, winning the 100 freestyle to join Plume (500 freestyle) and Wike (50 freestyle) in the elite club.  Witter posted a 52.50 in the preliminaries before shaving nearly a second off the time in the finals at 51.80.

Senior Leaders
In the five years preceding August 2004, before any of the current swim team members stepped foot on campus, LMU swimming's record was 2 wins, 60 losses with a 9th place finish of 13 teams in the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference.  In the ensuing four years, the Lions have had four winning seasons and moved up from 4th to 3rd, to 2nd in the PCSC Championship standings in 06-07.  This season the Lions had a perfect year, with an undefeated 9-0 record in dual meet competitions to win the PCSC Championship with 1212 points.
Lions in Hawai'i
After a hard-fought upset victory over UC San Diego on January 5, LMU swimmers hit a few different pools of water on a training trip in Hawai'i--the Lahaina Aquatic Center in Maui and the Pacific Ocean.  LMU took part in a pentathlon-swimming event against the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Macalester College, a DIII school from Minnesota, posting a strong showing in the five events before claiming the second through ninth spots in the final standings.  Kim McKay led the pack of Lions in the pentathlon, finishing second with an overall time of 3:00.42, just 0.06 behind the winner, Mariya Pavlovskaya from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.  The event was composed of the 50 butterfly, 50 backstroke, 50 breaststroke, 50 freestyle and the 100 individual medley.  McKay posted times of 27.82 in the butterfly, 29.10 in the backstroke, 34.30 in the breaststroke, 25.84 in the freestyle and 1:03.36 in the IM to claim second place.  Mallorie Lim finished third overall with a combined time of 3:01.72, followed by Trinity O'Neill (3:04.17), Kristen Lutjen (3:04.60), Alex Wike (3:04.84), Carolyn Pasque (3:06.84), Angela Samuels (3:07.05) and Melanie Tansuwan (3:07.92) in fourth through ninth, respectively  After Alaska's Sam Zinsli claimed 10th overall, LMU posted four more swimmers in the top-15. Liz Magura (3:08.22), Aja Kusao (3:10.05), Alicia Witter (3:10.12) and Danielle Garcia (3:10.78) finished in those spots, in that order.  In all, LMU contributed an incredible 12 of the top-15 swimmers in the pentathlon.  After swimming in the friendly confines of a pool, LMU took to the Pacific Ocean to partake in the 2008 Maui Mile, a one-mile open-water swim.  Although some LMU swimmers had never swam competitively in the ocean, Megan Sawelson showed no fear en route to claiming the top spot in the race with a time of 14:26.29.  Zinsli finished second for Alaska-Fairbanks with a time of 14:29.61 before LMU claimed third place with the arrival of Alicia Witter in 14:45.62.  Following a trio of Alaska swimmers in fourth, fifth and sixth places, LMU nabbed the seventh through 19th spots in the race.  Christine Gore (14:54.97), Tansuwan (14:55.86), Rebecca Plume (14:57.71) and Wike (14:58.50) rounded out the top-10 for LMU.  In all, the Lions claimed six of the top-10 and 11 of the top-15 spots in the open-water mile swim.  In the second event in the ocean, LMU competed in the 300 Swim-Run open-water event.  Alaska-Fairbanks faired well in the event, claiming the top-three spots, including Kinsey Laine's time of 4:35.83 to take the victory.  Pavlovskaya (4:42.50) and Zinsli (4:46.35) followed in second and third, respectively.  LMU took home the fourth through 16th positions in the race, led by Gore with a time of 4:47.84. Sawelson (4:48.69), Kristina Fernandez (4:49.00), Plume (4:49.33), O'Neill (4:50.00), Witter (4:50.25) and Magura (4:52.00) filled the rest of the top-10.

Replenish the Wealth
After claiming the PCSC Championship and saying goodbye to the senior leaders, head coach Bonnie Adair has recruited and signed two High School All-American freshmen swimmers who will take to the water for LMU in 2008-09.  Kyla Dahlquist (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Mountain Vista High School) and Tammy Choy (Millbrae, Calif./Mills High School) are expected to have an immediate impact on the team.  When asked about the successful signings, Adair said, "I am excited for the opportunity to coach both Tammy and Kyla who are just coming into their prime, yet are already performing close to National level times. They both have the potential to perform at that level during their four years at LMU. More importantly, both girls are exceptional students and share the same core values that we promote here at LMU. They are a perfect fit with the other student athletes in our program who are as excited as I am that Kyla and Tammy will be joining us next year."




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