Swimmers, divers head into post season strong

by Haiden Widener, Campus Carrier Sports Editor

Berry swimming and diving closed out their regular season this weekend with the Viking Classic Invitational. 

The men placed second out of four teams, behind Birmingham Southern (BSC). The women placed third out of five teams behind BSC and Converse College. 

Even though the teams collectively didn’t place first, this was not due to a lack of effort, but a lack of numbers. 

Senior captain Joey Ellwanger said, “Birmingham has about twice the amount of swimmers as us.” 

With more swimmers, come more points. So regardless of how many events Berry won, Birmingham Southern still accumulated more points because they had more people swimming to win points. 

“We swam really well, just with numbers, they got a lot more points,” Ellwanger said.

The men’s team finished in first place in nine out of 19 total events. In the men’s 50-yard and 100-yard freestyles, Berry won the top three spots. 

“We won four out of five relays,” Ellwanger said. “We won a lot of the events, they just have so many people.” The women placed in the top three in 13 out of 19 events. 

Freshman Josie Hadaway had two first-place finishes in the 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley relay.

“We had a lot of good swims (this weekend) and fast swims that will help to boost the morale for conference,” Hadaway said. 

The teams were happy with their performances in the invitational. To them, their times were more important than their overall team placing. 

“Most people posted up really good times,” Ellwanger said. “Everyone was really into the meet, no one was checked out.” 

The Vikings are now preparing for the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Conference Championship, which will be held in Birmingham. They have backed off of hard training and are now focusing more on technique to improve their times. 

Last season the men placed second in the conference, the highest finish in the program’s history.               

This year they are looking to do just as well, but might not have the depth to win overall. 

The women have placed fifth in the tournament the last two seasons, but are looking to place higher this year.

“I think the team as a whole has definitely grown and gotten faster,” said Hadaway. “We’re definitely looking forward to moving up in the rankings.”

Since both the men’s and women’s teams travel together, this means they have twice the motivation at meets.   

“There is so much support through the team both on the men’s side and the women’s side,” Hadaway said. “It’s just a really good atmosphere to be in.”

With Berry’s launch of the SAA Swim/Dive Championship website this week, fans from all schools are able to follow along with the meet even if they can’t make the trip down to Birmingham. 

The site includes each team’s roster, an overview of the facility teams will be using, an event spread and information on the city of Birmingham. 

The tournament will kick off on Feb. 8 and last through Feb. 11.  

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