BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – In their final tune-up before the conference championships, the Franklin College swimming and diving teams closed out the regular season with dual competitions against the Illinois Wesleyan Titans on Friday (Feb. 1) night.
The Franklin women closed out a perfect season in dual matches, holding off a game Titans squad for a 173-114 win to move to 13-0 in duals this year and finish unbeaten in dual competitions for the second straight year. Following close defeats in their last two meets, the Franklin men handled the Titans 183-91 to wrap up a 10-2 season.
The night began with the 200 medley relay and both teams started off the evening with convincing wins. Franklin's top women's team of Brynna Sentel, Ashley Snoke, Jacqueline Richard and Courtnee Coffman touched in 1:49.33, winning by nearly five seconds. On the men's side, the quartet of Zach Rayce, Jack Heim, Noah Tallman and Ben Doss rolled to victory in 1:40.21, taking the event by nearly four seconds.
From there it was on to the individual events where Sentel collected a trio of event titles. The Sullivan, Ill.-native dominated in a pair of distance events, cruising to wins in the 1000 freestyle (10:41.79) and the 500 freestyle (5:13.59) before narrowly taking first in the 200 IM in 2:12.17, winning by .29 seconds.
Five other Grizzly women would contribute with wins of their own. Jessica Halsmer narrowly edged out two Titan swimmers in the 200 freestyle, touching the wall in 1:57.89 to best two swimmers by less than a half-a-second. Snoke picked up a desicive win in the 100 breastroke, clocking in at 1:09.07 to best teammate August Hartzell by a little more than one second.
Cady Mehringer took first in the 200 butterfly (2:15.78), Coffman was victorious in the 50 freestyle (24.40) and Mackenzie Dwyer claimed the top spot in the 200 backstroke (2:11.25) to close out the individual winners for the Franklin women. The team of Halsmer, Snoke, Richard and Coffman closed out the night by taking first in the 200 freestyle relay, edging out a .12-second win in 1:40.38.
The Franklin men followed up their meet-opening relay with by picking up wins in nine of the other 13 races. Heim captured two individual wins, touching first in both the 200 breaststroke (216.20) and the 200 IM (2:04.18). He was joined as a multi-race winner by sophomore Charlie Hall, who claimed first in both the 100 breaststroke (1:01.53) and the 200 backstroke (2:06.51).
Joining the duo in the winner's circle was junior James Hone, who captured first in the 200 freestyle (1:47.37) before adding a runner-up finish in the 100 freestyle (49.74). Freshman Caleb Strange earned a win in the 500 freestyle (4:58.01), following up a second place finish in the 50 freestyle (22.78) earlier in the night. Rayce bested the field in the 100 backstroke with a 56.54 second first place time. Tallman rounded out the list of individual winners when his 53.36 second time earned him a win in the 100 butterfly.
The men's team closed out the night by taking the top two spots in the 200 freestyle relay. Jordan Cermak, Hone, Hall and Mac Howard claimed the top spot in 1:31.45 while the team of Dylan Harker, Jacob Weir, Alex Bowers and Kevin Gast took runner-up in 1:35.85.
On the boards, sophomore Lexi Blackburn captured the top spot in both diving events. The Clayton, Ind.-native finished with 266.50 points on the one-meter board and racked up a score of 256.50 on the three-meter board. Senior Will Combs claimed first place on the one-meter board on the men's side, racking up 267.60 points. Later in the night, he would place second on the three-meter with 224.70 points.
With the regular season in the rear-view mirror, the Grizzlies now turn their attention to the 2019 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Championships, which take place from Feb. 14-16 at the Vigo Aquatics Center in Terre Haute, Ind.