Swimming and Diving split their first meet back against Augustana

Andrew Zienty

Swimmers from Augustana and IWU on their blocks in preparation for a race.
Photo: Illinois Wesleyan University Athletics 

Illinois Wesleyan’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed in their first dual meet last Saturday, January, 23. IWU hosted the Augustana Vikings at the Shirk Center’s Fort Natatorium. 

The women’s team was victorious with a final score of 139-132 while the men’s team lost 132-129.

The season was delayed from in-person competition around two months from its original start in late November, and has now been shortened to only include conference meets. The shortened season will include a conference championship and has the possibility of an NCAA final which is still being discussed by the NCAA.

“The majority of the team hasn’t had any real competition in at least 11 months, so it was great to be able to compete in person again,” assistant coach Tommy Gilbert said.

“During the most challenging and unusual semester that any of them had been through, both the women’s and men’s teams finished with GPAs over 3.5,” T. Gilbert said.

The women’s team had individual titles from junior Ellen Gilbert who finished first in 100m fly (1:00.26), first-year Hannah Murray won the 200m free (2:00.35), first-year Lauren Feddersen won the 100m and 200m breaststroke with times of 1:11.15 and 2:32.02 respectively and first-year Natalie Wajda won the 200m backstroke with a time of 2:11.58.

“Virtual meets, where we would compete with ourselves and post our times against other teams times, or the lack of meets have been the most difficult part of competing in a

pandemic. It’s hard to feel like it is a meet and get into the correct mindset without competition

in the lane next to you,” first-year Lauren Feddersen said.

The men’s team saw individual success from junior Mason McCauley in the 200m freestyle (1:49.64) the 200m butterfly (2:02.42) and the 200m breaststroke (2:65.60). There was also success from junior Jackson Rapala who won the 1000 free (10:39.55) and the 500 free (5:13.03). First-year Jack Troyer won CCIW diver of the week earning 221.95 on the one-meter dive and 202.80 on the three-meter dive.

Jack Troyer (‘24) is the first Titan to be named CCIW Diver of the Week this season.
Photo Courtesy of CCIW.

I guess I was surprised at how ready we all were to start competing again. It’s been almost a year since we raced people outside of our team and going back to that after all this time was nerve-racking. But as soon as we all got on deck and cheered for each other everything seemed to fall into place,” McCauley said.

The team has begun to taper off workouts and practices to allow for rest and recovery as their season comes to an end at the end of February. This Saturday, January 30th, the Titans will host Millikin and North Central in a tri-meet.