Spires break records, qualify for nationals in final home swim meet

Derek Wiley/Leavenworth Times
CherryRoad Media
The University of Saint Mary women’s and men’s swim teams had one of their best days ever in the pool on Nov. 20 at Lansing High School.

Saint Mary celebrated senior day in the pool by setting more records and qualifying more swimmers for nationals.

In the 50-yard freestyle, freshman Blake Jorgens swam the third fastest time in the NAIA, lowering both his 50 and 100 free to put him among the top in the country. He also broke both school records in those events, finishing in 20.78 and 46.63 seconds.

Swimming on Nov. 20 at Lansing High School, another freshman, Sydney Jones, went a lifetime best in the 100 backstroke to lower both her school record and her NAIA B cut time. Her 100 back time of 58.62 seconds is currently the seventh  fastest in the country.

“I thought we were ready for the meet but didn’t realize we would swim that fast,” Saint Mary coach David Bresser said.

According to Bresser, the first event of the day set the tone when the women got the NAIA cut in the 200 medley relay.

The men would not be outdone getting their cut in the very next heat.

“I think then it was game on,” Bresser said. “The swimmers were pumped and had the confidence to swim fast in their individual events. It was awesome to see amazing swim event after event.”

Saint Mary swam automatic NAIA qualifying cuts for three relays. The men’s 200 medley relay (Justin Schaefer, Jorgens, Braydon Kime and Matt Hall) time of 1:36.92 is currently 12th in the NAIA. The men’s 200 free relay (Weston Hutchings, Brandon Powell, Hall and Jorgens) time of 1:26.85 is eighth  in the NAIA, and the women’s 200 medley relay (Jones, Neena Lorenz, Emma Will and Grace Sanford) time of 1:52.03 is 10th.

Individually, Hall also swam two NAIA B cuts and school records in the 200 free and 500 free, finishing in 1:46.13 and 4:49.98. Schaefer made two NAIA B cuts in the 100 and 200 backstroke, while also breaking the school record in the 200, finishing in 1:54.03.

Kime (100 and 200 butterfly), Sanford (200 free), Hutchings (50 free) and Kadee Schutt (50 free) also swam B cut times in their individual events.

Lucas Sandoval broke the school record in the men’s 1,650 free in 17:39.82 and Will set the school record in the women’s 100 fly in 1:02.78.

Saint Mary also honored its three seniors – Matt Herko, Evelyn Pinedo and Joe McGuire.

“Senior Day is one of my favorite but also saddest meets,” Bresser said. “I love honoring our seniors but feel sad knowing this is their last time competing in our pool.”

The Spires will take a break to focus on the last two weeks of the semester and prepare for exams.

Once back in the pool, Saint Mary will then turn its attention to the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships in February.

“It’s incredible to have these times and these types of swims at this point in the season,” Bresser said. “However, we must get back into the groove to prepare for the KCAC meet. While we moved up, we still have some incredibly fast teams in the KCAC. I’d love to compete with some of those teams that are ranked nationally in the top 10.”